Listening to what Sylvester Stallone has said about the absence of his character, Rocky Balboa, in the upcoming movie, Creed 3, is kind of confusing since it’s left a lot of people wondering if he knows what he’s saying or if he’s forgotten that the ‘dark’ story that his own character has gone through shaped the entire franchise. The whole idea of not seeing Rocky in the third Creed movie has to do with the fact that Stallone didn’t like the direction that things are headed, meaning that the storyline between Adonis Creed and his childhood friend likely appears a little too dark in nature to accommodate the presence of Balboa, as Stallone wants to keep to the idea that his character will get rocked and beaten and dragged through the mud occasionally, but will end up coming out on top. There’s more to his statement, but the core argument that things have gotten a little too dark is a bit confusing since it indicates that Stallone might not recall that Rocky’s story went dark a few times. If he does know what he’s saying, however, it might be a convenient excuse to let go of the Rocky character once and for all.
Rocky has had plenty of dark moments.
Since the franchise started, things have fallen in and out of dark times for Rocky since when the movies started, he was more of a bum and a leg-breaker than a boxer since he worked for a neighborhood loan shark. Not only that, but he was one of the many that had experienced poverty for much of his life and had undergone many difficulties that had kept him from realizing his true potential. Trying to state that Rocky had no dark moments in his life throughout six movies would be impossible unless one took several large chunks out of each movie, thereby leaving only the fighting scenes and a few exposition scenes that wouldn’t make sense when put into sequence. In other words, Rocky has had quite a few dark moments throughout the franchise that have gone beyond the ring and have shown the development of the character and the world around him.
Creed is doing his own thing, as one should expect.
Creed is not Rocky, no matter that he benefited from Rocky’s tutelage and advice. The idea that he would go down the same road as Rocky was never a great idea to start with since he has different experiences and a very different life, especially since he’s the son of Apollo Creed. This is the type of dubious benefit that Rocky never had since he didn’t have a famous parent, but then again, he also didn’t have this hanging over his head either as he grew up. Adonis is a very different person from Rocky, as he’s like a harder, more stubborn version of Apollo, though he’s not nearly as used to the glory that his father enjoyed so much, at least not in the first two movies he’s not. Creed is kind of arrogant, but he’s not as vainglorious as Apollo used to be. Because of that, Adonis is a very different person from his father and from Rocky, meaning that his story is never bound to be the same, even if there are similarities.
It’s been time to lay Rocky aside for a while.
Ever since the second movie, it’s fair to say that this character should have been laid aside in order to let his legend grow and become what it’s been for a while now. The third movie wasn’t too bad since it did manage to help Rocky develop a bit more, but the fourth and the fifth movies could have been left on the cutting room floor without too much of an issue. At that point, it was well-established that Rocky was insanely tough and could take a serious amount of damage. But trying to use Rocky as a means to patch things up between America and Russia was kind of meh, while showing him as an aging restaurant owner that wanted to show he could still swing with the current champion of the time was also kind of well, meh. Rocky has been in need of retirement for a long time now.
On top of everything, Rocky has earned his rest.
While it might be stated that Rocky didn’t really have much of a place in this upcoming movie, the fact is that he did tell Adonis that it was his time in the last movie, so it feels as though Rocky should have been expected to be absent. Not only that, but his reunion with his son was a good point at which to allow Rocky to simply step out of the story in a graceful and respectful manner. Anything else just feels like a poor excuse to appease the fans.