Why Creed III Needed To Start After A Time Jump

"Creed III" boasts two intriguing firsts: it's the first film in the "Rocky" franchise to not feature Sylvester Stallone, and it marks star Michael B. Jordan's directorial debut. As the ninth film in the series, it was probably time to put the Italian Stallion out to pasture; the character's mentorship of Adonis Creed was complete at the end of "Creed II," while, off-screen, Stallone has publicly groused of late that Irwin Winkler, a Hollywood veteran who's produced every film in the series, stole the franchise from him. There's probably no coming back for Balboa.

This means the "Creed" brand belongs to Jordan, so it'll be fascinating to see where he takes Adonis over the next decade or however long he decides to stick with the character. One thing we do know for sure is that "Creed III" will take a significant time jump. The sequel is set seven years after the "Creed II," and catches up with Donny and his singer-songwriter wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson) at a critical juncture in their lives.

Art imitates life

At a press conference attended by /Film's Rafael Motamayor, Jordan explained why he moved the story ahead seven years.

"I think it was important to get to a pivotal point in Donny's career and Bianca's career. We've seen them fall in love. We've seen them come together and create life in a family together. I wanted to get to the next crossroads for them, the next level of life and experience as young adults dealing with professional career and family and the choices that come along with that. I think it was... a reflection of where I was in my life professionally, personally, and I just had a lot to say around that. So I figured we'd progress things there."

This is exactly what Stallone did with Balboa throughout his career. Each Rocky film mirrored when Sly was in terms of stardom. He went from nobody ("Rocky") to unexpected celebrity ("Rocky II") to overly cocky superstar ("Rocky III") to international sensation ("Rocky IV") and so on. It's incredibly smart and perceptive of Coogler to take the same approach as he attempts to strike a balance between movie star turns and serious performances. Here's hoping he's learned a thing or two from his predecessor, and keeps a level head in the years to come — which is to say here's hoping he never makes "Rhinestone." Or "Over the Top." Or, god forbid, "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot."