Fans of the Rocky franchise, sports movies and Michael B. Jordan finally have the trailer for “Creed II” to dissect and watch on repeat.
The promo dropped Wednesday morning and, clocking in at just under two minutes, it’s jam-packed with scenes that all lead up to the mic-drop moment: Adonis Creed (Jordan) will face off with the son of Ivan Drago, the antagonist in “Rocky IV.”
The most recent installment in the series, “Creed,” was a box office and critical success and was Jordan’s first time fronting a major studio movie. He’s back, and so are Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson.
Here’s what we know about the movie so far:
Ryan Coogler is not directing this time
Coogler, the writer-director behind past collaborations with Jordan (“Fruitvale Station,” “Black Panther” and “Creed”), is not directly involved with this latest installment. “Creed II” is directed by Steven Caple Jr., who came on board after Stallone initially announced he would direct.
The studio and Stallone announced back in January 2016 that they were going to make a sequel to “Creed,” but that the timing with Coogler and his “Black Panther” duties may create a scheduling conflict: “I know Ryan is probably going to be gone for a couple years,” Stallone says. “So there will be a quandary on: Do we work with another director and have Ryan produce, or do we wait? There’s a diminishing time acceptance of a sequel. Now they are cranking them out in a year.”
MGM had hoped to release “Creed II” in 2017, which meant Coogler was out of the running.
In February, Coogler told Variety that while it could have been “possible” for him to also direct “Creed II,” timing got in the way — but the franchise is still personal for him.
“‘Creed’ was about my dad and me, so it’s a movie that I find difficult to watch. It’s difficult for me to even think about it, I’ve got so many emotional ties to it, not to mention you know how much I care about the people involved,” he said, mentioning Jordan, Thompson and Stallone.
“These are people that I wanna see do well and win at all costs,” he added. “There’s timing, and that film for whatever reason it had to go when it’s going. I think it’s a blessing that it’s going, man. It’s amazing that they found an incredible filmmaker in Steven Caple Jr., who’s a guy I actually went to film school with, who I have a lot of love and respect for. I can’t wait to see what he does with it.”
Coogler also co-wrote “Creed,” and this time, Cheo Hodari Coker and Stallone are credited as screenwriters.
Other details we spy in the trailer
Rocky is still visiting Adrian’s grave and talking to her. Bianca is still wearing her hearing aid, given her degenerative hearing loss. Adonis and Bianca appear to still be together.
But hey, is that a baby?! We see the couple and baby hanging with Apollo Creed’s widow, Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad), who in another scene, ostensibly trying to convince Adonis not to fight Drago Jr., curtly says, “Don’t pretend this is about your father!”
In “Creed,” Tony “Little Duke” Evers — owner of the Delphi Boxing Academy where Apollo once trained — refused to take on Adonis, given his tragic family history. The “Creed II” trailer shows he’s had a change of heart, and he’s in several boxing sequences with Adonis.
And it wouldn’t be a Rocky movie without intense training sequences. The trailer offers a taste, including an underwater shadow boxing scene.
In this world, everyone joins the family business
In the first run of “Rocky” movies, Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa started as rivals and then became friends. Then Apollo met his maker fighting Soviet boxer Drago in “Rocky IV,” in a fight that Rocky tried to stop but ultimately didn’t in time.
“Creed” explores Adonis’s connection to his father, Apollo, and his attempt get out from under his shadow while following a similar path. But he’s not the only one doing basically what his dad did.
Back in the original “Rocky” movies, Tony “Duke” Evers trained Apollo for several fights, and then trained Rocky in his fight against Ivan Drago. In “Creed II,” it looks like Evers’s son, Little Duke, trains Apollo’s son, Adonis, to fight Drago’s son (played by Romanian fighter Florian Munteanu).
Michael B. Jordan has been training for this
Fervent Michael B. Jordan Instagram story followers already know that the actor has been training hard, even hitting the gym multiple times daily in the middle of his promotional duties for “Black Panther.”
The movie will hit theaters Nov. 21, just in time for Thanksgiving weekend and just about two years after “Creed.”