A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that the Ryan Coogler, the director of Fruitvale Station, is set to write and direct a spinoff of Rocky centering on the grandson of Rocky’s biggest opponent, Apollo Creed (to be played by Frutiville Station‘s star, Micheal B. Jordan). To top it off, Sly Stallone is set to reprise his role of Rocky and train the young Creed.
I was pretty excited about this news, and shared it all over social media, expecting my friends, many avid Rocky/Stallone fans to be equally excited, or at least have an opinion about the potential project. It didn’t get a peep. Likewise, the news seemed to generate little interest on the internet.
This puzzles me. Because even if you’re just a passing fan of Rocky, you should be over the moon.
In an age of reboots, this is a refreshing idea. The old guard passing the torch to a new generation. We get to see Stallone fully realize the original story arc he had in mind for the character of Rocky, to eventually be a trainer (an idea he teased with for part five, but the studio insisted on a fight with the titular character). We’ll also finally get to see a fictional account of a black fighter, which is exceedingly rare in the boxing/MMA sub-genre of movies (think about it, how many films feature a black fighter as the lead vs. how many we’ve seen with white leads. then think: how many pro black fighters are there vs. pro white fighters?). Jordan is an excellent actor (take a look at his work on Friday Night Lights, or the aforementioned Fruitville Station); it’ll be interesting to see what sort of chemistry he and Stallone will have, and how it might mirror the previous trainer/fighter relationships in the series such as the ones Rocky had with Apollo and of course, Mickey.
Still, what makes this a real home-run is that Coolger is a young, hungry filmmaker. Kind of like Stallone back in the day…