Rocky
Courtesy of MGM

After a successful comeback in “Creed,” which has grossed $103 million at the U.S. box office, Sylvester Stallone revealed in a new interview with Variety that he’s already getting ready to step back in the ring for another sequel where he’ll play Rocky Balboa.

MGM, which financed the Warner Bros. release with New Line, is onboard. “There’s no doubt that we’re making a ‘Creed 2,’” says MGM CEO Gary Barber.

It’s not clear if Ryan Coogler, who is in negotiations for Marvel’s “Black Panther,” will return as director of the next “Creed.” “I know Ryan is probably going to be gone for a couple years,” Stallone says. “So there will be a quandary on: Do we work with another director and have Ryan produce, or do we wait? There’s a diminishing time acceptance of a sequel. Now they are cranking them out in a year.”

Coogler and Stallone have already developed ideas for the new “Creed.” One version of the story would take place in the past, which would mean — in a surprise that would energize the franchise’s fans — bringing back Carl Weathers to play Apollo Creed, who died in 1985’s “Rocky IV.” “Ryan has some ideas of going forward and backward and actually seeing Rocky and Apollo together,” Stallone revealed. “Think of ‘The Godfather 2.’ That’s what he was thinking of, which was kind of ambitious.” Stallone said he’d recently bumped into Weathers, who looked like he was still in good shape. “I can’t believe I got in the ring with him,” he says. “Even if it was play fighting.”

Coogler is startled to hear that Stallone has already let the cat out of the bag about their plan. “Oh no!” he says with a sigh. “There are no secrets with Sly.” Jordan sounds more skeptical. “So it’s going to be a CGI-version of Sly?” he teases, adding that he’d like to be in the next film. “I’m trying to think about it. Knowing Ryan, he’ll find a clever way to make that work.”

Another option would be a linear story with Apollo’s son Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) taking on another challenger. “You’ll have him face a different opponent, which I would say is a more ferocious, big Russian,” Stallone says. “You can start to meld my experiences and then you start to bring different cultures into it. And you can see what’s happening with the Russians today in America. The complication will come with the girl’s ambition, because she’s not Adrian. She has places to go, things to see, the clock is running on her hearing.”

For more from our interview with Stallone, read this week’s Variety cover story.

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