Stallone says Rocky may ride again with talk of a sequel and prequel

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Rocky, Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Like many children of the 1980s, I grew up while Sylvester Stallone was on his way to becoming a household name. My mother, father, and sister were obsessed with ROCKY by the time I was able to wrap my head around the concept of film, and Stallone's journey as the Italian Stallion was more or less a cinematic bedtime story from my youth. In the years that have passed since Rocky Balboa first fought Apollo Creed in Stallone's 1976 multi-award winning film, several generations have now bore witness to the character's strength, determination, and inspiring story filled with blood, sweat and tears.

Recently, Variety's own Claudia Eller was joined by Stallone for an hours-long chat about the actor's connection to Rocky, and how playing the character changed his life in a myriad of unforgettable ways. During their talk, both Stallone and Eller touch on several aspects of Stallone's journey, including how the DEMOLITION MAN actor has carried a deep-seated resentment for decades regarding not being given any ownership of the Rocky brand.

In time, the "Rocky" franchise has produced eight films, including the powerhouse spinoffs CREED and CREED II, starring Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed. The series as a whole has earned untold millions since its 1976 debut, though Stallone remains bitter about his share of the pot.

While speaking with Variety, Stallone confessed, “I have zero ownership of ‘Rocky.’” As if that's not shocking enough, Stallone continued, “Every word, every syllable, every grammatical error was all my fault,” he tells Variety. “It was shocking that it never came to be, but I was told, ‘Hey, you got paid, so what are you complaining about?’ I was furious.” That said, he blames his own naiveté and lack of business savvy at the time for not pushing the issue hard enough: “You don’t want to ruffle the feathers of the golden goose.”

While Stallone has his own take on the ROCKY residuals, the original film's producer, Irwin Winkler, feels as if the Italian Stallion's grousing is unwarranted. According to Winkler, Stallone has been compensated in a multitude of ways for his part in building the franchise, including profit participation, additional income from ancillaries, and upfront fees for sequels. Moreover, while doing some digging, Variety spoke with an anonymous party about the situation who said that Stallone “made money from every angle, and still does, so I don’t know what he’s complaining about.”

While there are plenty of other highlights to be found in Variety's exclusive interview, perhaps it's time that we get to the part you've all been waiting for, eh?

At one point in the entertainment outlet's fireside chat, Stallone revealed that he is working on a new "Rocky" movie for Winkler's production company and MGM (which co-own the franchise). The premise for the project centers on the Adrian-loving boxer befriending a young street fighter living in the Unites States illegally. “We’re very high on it,” says Winkler, who was quick to share that negotiations are underway for Stallone to write and star in the feature. “We’re very anxious to make it.”

Ah, but the "Rocky" goodness doesn't stop there!

Stallone also shared with Variety that he's been involved in an ongoing discussion concerning a ROCKY prequel as a TV series. The project will likely aim for release on a streaming platform.

When asked for comment about the ROCKY prequel for TV, and whether or not there's any truth to Winkler having other ideas, Stallone said "There was some conflict there, yes. He felt in his mind that “Rocky” was primarily a feature film, and he didn’t see it as being translated for cable, so there was a big bone of contention."

Later, the sneer-lipped actor was asked about Rocky Balboa returning to the big screen in yet another film for the franchise. To this, Stallone simply replied, "There's a good chance that "Rocky" may ride again."

Naturally, this was the point in Variety's interview when Stallone revealed the premise for another chapter of Rocky's legendary story:

"Rocky meets a young, angry person who got stuck in this country when he comes to see his sister. He takes him into his life, and unbelievable adventures begin, and they wind up south of the border. It’s very, very timely," Stallone was able to share.

When asked if the story would touch on immigration issues in the U.S. that are the topic of almost every contemporary newsfeed, Stallone responded by saying, "Yes. Do you tell someone that you just met in the street who’s struggling and homeless to get out, or do you take him in? If you take him in, you’re in trouble."

Finally, when asked if plans for a ROCKY sequel are anywhere near happening, Stallone dropped a bomb by saying, "They want to go tomorrow."

To read the entire interview with Stallone and Variety's own Claudia Eller, be sure to click here. It's a damn good read that is sure to be a thrill for any fan of the Italian Stallion.

Source: Variety

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.