Rising star Michael B. Jordan, who got his start on acclaimed TV shows like The Wire and Friday Night Lights back in the 2000s, will be joining a couple of movie franchises over the next two years. First up, he’ll be playing Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in the 2015 Fantastic Four – a project that reunited Jordan with Chronicle director Josh Trank – and soon, Jordan will re-team with his Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler on the Rocky spinoff, Creed</em>.
Creed will tell the story of Apollo Creed’s grandson (played by Jordan), who decides to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become a professional boxer. The initial reports about the project hit the ‘Net back in Summer 2013 and there hadn’t been a significant progress update since – until now, with a fresh casting report that also mentions a January 2015 production start for the Rocky spinoff.
THR is reporting that real-life boxers Tony Bellew and Andre Ward are in negotiations to costar in Creed. Bellew, an Amateur Boxing Association of England champion, is up to portray young Creed’s main opponent (a character known as “Pretty Ricky Porter”), while World Boxing Association champion Ward’s planned role in the film has yet to be revealed. Filming, as mentioned before, is slated to get underway in a couple months, in such places as Las Vegas and Philadelphia.
Sylvester Stallone will be sharing the screen with Jordan in Creed as the older Rocky Balboa, who agrees to mentor his late rival-turned friend’s grandson in the art of boxing. Recently, Sly has been talking about making Rambo 5 his next project but, following on the heels of disappointing box office turnouts for his last few movies, it looks as though Stallone will instead be returning to his other career-defining role in the Rocky spinoff first.
2006’s Rocky Balboa “retired” the film’s title character in what many felt was a satisfying fashion but, chances are, a fair number of longtime Sly fans would be open to him reprising Rocky so he can “pass the torch” in Creed. The project in general appears to bear a resemblance to the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in the sense that it aims to transition a franchise from one generation of characters to another… for at least one film, anyway.
Of course, while it’s easy to justify the continued exploration of the Star Wars universe onscreen, it remains to be seen if Creed is one Rocky movie installment too many. Coogler and Jordan both earned much in the way of critical applause for their work on Fruitvale Station and Coogler is also co-penning the script for Creed, so that improves the chances of the film being a thematically-rich sports drama (as well as a compelling character story), in its own right.
Creed, by the look of it, should reach theaters in 2016.