In “Creed II”, Rocky Balboa reunites with an old adversary. Ivan Drago returns in this opus where the son of the Russian boxer faces Adonis Creed. Initially, the old enemies were to come to blows but the scene does not appear in the film, much to the chagrin of Sylvester Stallone.
Creed II : like fathers, like sons
After being revealed to the public in the first installment directed by Ryan Coogler, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) becomes world champion in the “heavyweight” category during the first minutes of Creed II. As he savors his title, the boxer is offered a particularly risky challenge: a fight against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), responsible for the death of his father Apollo.
Despite warnings from Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), Adonis accepts and is violently knocked down by his opponent. Then begins a long rehabilitation and a real existential crisis for the athlete. Supporting his doubts and tantrums, his mentor and companion Bianca (Tessa Thompson) help him overcome a period of self-questioning and get back in the ring. Determined to take his revenge against Viktor Drago, Adonis must first learn to get up and get rid of his faults, as Rocky and his father knew how to do before him.
Wood Harris, Brigitte Nielsen, Phylicia Rashad and Milo Ventimiglia complete the cast of Creed II. Released in 2019 and directed by Steven Caple Jr. (The Land), this opus focused on transmission, legacy and the fear of making the same mistakes that his elders place his hero in a delicate position after his ascent in the previous feature film.
A missed fight between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago
If it is therefore not centered on them, Creed II marks all the same the reunion between the two boxers of Rocky IV. Forgotten since his defeat in the USSR against Rocky Balboa, Ivan Drago hopes here to benefit from the notoriety of his old enemy and that of Adonis to find the light. From their first meeting in the Philadelphia hero’s restaurant, the tension is palpable between them.
Subsequently, the two characters stay away from each other and the story focuses on the torments of its main character. However, after the knockout that Viktor inflicts on Adonis, Ivan and Rocky had to come to blows in the hospital hall where the world champion is supported.
In 2019, Sylvester Stallone revealed behind the scenes of this scene on Instagram. The actor and co-screenwriter of the film says in the caption of his publication:
Here’s a repeat of a short clash Rocky was supposed to have against Drago in Creed II. It takes place in the hospital, right after Adonis was beaten by Drago’s son…Adonis is in great pain and tells me to leave…Draco and the promoter arrive with a film crew in an attempt to harass the losing fighter but Rocky stop them!!! It would have been amazing! But unfortunately it was cut… Too bad…
Another deleted scene for Dolph Lundgren
According to Esquire, Steven Caple Jr.’s decision to cut this scene in the edit would have disappointed Sylvester Stallone. This is not the only sequence involving Ivan Drago that does not appear in the feature film. Asked by SlashFilm in 2018, Dolph Lundgren explained that his character was also deprived of a reconciliation with Rocky Balboa:
At the end, after the fight, Adonis and Rocky return and see Ivan removing the bandages from his son’s hands while comforting him. The latter feels bad for having lost. I leave the room and Adonis comes in and talks to my son. I come back, and we have a discussion, Adonis and I, and right after I spend some time with Rocky. And it was cut. Maybe it was too much, or maybe it was too emotional or too sweet. Maybe redemption will come another time.