Sylvester Stallone’s Big Regret. How Apollo’s Fate Changed Rocky and Led to the Creed Movies

In the gritty, sweat-soaked world of boxing portrayed in the “Rocky” and “Creed” films, every punch and knockout carries a story deeper than the physical impact. Sylvester Stallone, the stalwart behind the “Rocky” series, once revealed a choice that significantly altered the course of his cinematic universe. The decision to kill off Apollo Creed, played by Carl Weathers, in “Rocky IV” was one that Stallone would come to regret, a decision that opened doors for new narratives but closed the chapter on what could have been a very different tale.

Apollo Creed, the charismatic and formidable champion, fell during a tragic match against Ivan Drago, a moment that has remained pivotal in the series. This narrative choice not only ended Creed’s life but set the stage for the emergence of a new hero in the “Creed” films, led by Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, Apollo’s son.

Sylvester Stallone's Big Regret: How Apollo's Fate Changed Rocky and Led to the Creed Movies
Creed Movies Born of Regret

The Rocky Franchise: What Could Have Been

Had Apollo survived, the texture of the “Rocky” series might have been profoundly different. Stallone imagined a scenario where Apollo, disabled and wheelchair-bound after his bout with Drago, would take on a role similar to that of Mickey, Rocky’s mentor.

“Him in a wheelchair, he would’ve assumed the role of Mickey. Now his physicality is diminished, we would’ve seen a different side of Apollo,”

Sylvester Stallone's Big Regret: How Apollo's Fate Changed Rocky and Led to the Creed Movies
Apollo’s Fate, Rocky’s Future

Stallone shared, as reported by Cheat Sheet. This transformation would have offered a fresh lens on Apollo’s character, exploring his vulnerabilities and strength in a non-physical capacity.
In this alternate reality, Apollo Creed would have evolved from a rival to a mentor, deepening his relationship with Rocky and perhaps avoiding the controversial and less favored sequels like “Rocky V.” Furthermore, the entire trajectory of the “Creed” films might never have unfolded as we know them today.

“It would’ve changed the entire trajectory of all the Rockys. Rocky V would’ve never happened and Rocky VI maybe never would have happened that way. Creed probably never would’ve been made,”

Stallone reflected on the impact of Apollo’s death.

Sylvester Stallone's Big Regret: How Apollo's Fate Changed Rocky and Led to the Creed Movies
Stallone’s Regret Shapes Cinema

The Birth of the Creed Franchise

Despite Stallone’s regrets, the demise of Apollo Creed gave rise to a new saga, one where Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis steps into the limelight, struggling not just with opponents in the ring but with his identity and legacy. Under the mentorship of a battle-worn Rocky Balboa, Adonis seeks to carve his own path while grappling with the shadow of a father he never knew. The films explore themes of legacy, redemption, and personal growth, resonating deeply with audiences and adding layers to the “Rocky” universe.

The “Creed” franchise, thus, stands as a testament to the narrative possibilities that arise from unexpected quarters—even from regrets. Stallone’s candid reflections on Apollo Creed’s death not only shed light on his creative process but also on the enduring impact of storytelling decisions in shaping the destinies of beloved characters.

In a way, Sylvester Stallone’s regret is a poignant reminder of the bittersweet nature of storytelling, where each choice can lead to new beginnings or premature ends. As the “Creed” series continues to build on its legacy, it carries forward the spirit of Apollo, ensuring that even in his absence, his presence is profoundly felt. The narrative may have been birthed from regret, but it has triumphed as a story of resilience and enduring legacy.

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