The Creed III Trailer Has Us Buying Every Ticket for Jordan v. Majors

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Throw it back to the late ’70s: A young Sylvester Stallone had just, essentially, created the modern sports movie with his star-making turn in Rocky. The way the story goes, Rocky director John G. Avildsen couldn’t return for the sequel because he was supposed to film Saturday Night Fever, so Stallone fought like the Italian Stallion to land himself in the director’s chair.

The rest is history: After some hand-wringing, Stallone directs the just-as-great Rocky II and a few Rocky installments after that, establishing himself as a just-as-exceptional director. Now, Michael B. Jordan, who starred in the recent Rocky quasi-reboots, Creed and Creed II, is following in Sly’s footsteps. Jordan will direct Creed III, in addition to reprising his role as Adonis Creed. And who will be waiting for him on the other side of the ring? Kang the Conquerer himself: Jonathan Majors, who teased of the film, “Michael is really trying to do something different with this Creed. Something that’s a bit more intimate… With intimacy comes complexity. It’s he and I. It’s a story about these two men trying to work something out, and it’s very different from the others.”

In advance of Creed III‘s March 3, 2o23 release date, we have our first trailer for the film. Whew! We’ll say that it definitely has that get-up-and-punch-a-wall energy of the “Lord Knows” montage from Creed. In the preview, we catch up with Creed, who seems relatively comfy in his famous-boxer life, a la Rocky IV. Which makes Majors’s character, whose name is Damian Anderson, this film’s Drago. Anderson seems to be an old friend of Creed’s who got caught up with the law (seemingly alongside Creed) as a kid—and ended up in jail for it. When Creed III picks up, Anderson is out from behind bars, looking to train at Creed’s gym. If you had any doubt, a heel turn ensues, leading up to a you should fight him yourself, Creed! moment.

It’s deeply cool of Creed III to pivot from Creed II‘s legacy plot, making Majors’s villain an original character. Because it seemed like Creed was fresh out of old Rocky baddies to reintroduce. Or sons of said Rocky villains. (Unless Clubber Lang has a kid floating around the boxing-verse somewhere.) The decision will, undoubtably, make Jordan’s turn in the director’s chair even more memorable. You can view the trailer below.

Since you’re probably asking, Stallone has said that Creed II was his last turn as Rocky Balboa, so it’s more than fitting that the directing duties went to MBJ after his successful introduction to the Rocky world. Rocky IV and Creed II slugger Dolph Lundgren also voiced support of a MBJ-directed Creed III.

In Esquire’s 2019 cover story featuring MBJ, Jordan told writer Mitchell S. Jackson about his dreams of stepping behind the camera. “I’ve been learning since I was like twelve years old, being on set,” Jordan said at the time. “Seeing what everybody does, all the departments. From the wardrobe stuff to the sound. I’ve always cared about what everybody needed. It’s kinda like a perfect perspective to have to be able to help run a set. I just love to collaborate. And empower people to do what they do best.”

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