(Image credit: MGM)
2018’s Creed II wasn’t just a continuation of the story that began in 2015 with the introduction of Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed, it also served as a follow-up to the events of Rocky IV. More than three decades after Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa fought Dolph Lundren’s Ivan Drago, Creed II saw Adonis going up against Ivan’s son, Florian Munteanu’s Viktor Drago. Last November, Lundgren shared that he’d heard “talk” about MGM putting together a Drago spinoff, and now it looks like the project is moving forward thanks to a key hire.
According to The Wrap, MGM has tapped Robert Lawton to write the Drago script. Lawton got on the company’s radar thanks to his spec script Becoming Rocky, which is about the making of 1976’s Rocky. Becoming Rocky was one of 50 spec scripts that won a 2021 Nicoll Fellowship, and MGM was reportedly impressed with Lawton’s work on both that and the Drago idea he came up with, ultimately hiring him to pen the spinoff. No Drago plot details have been revealed aside from that it will spotlight both Ivan and Viktor Drago, rather than just one of them.
The first time Viktor Drago and Adonis Creed came to blows in a boxing match during Creed II, the former badly injured the latter, although because Viktor hit Adonis while he was down, Adonis was able to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. Ivan saw his son as a way to recapture the glory that he lost when Rocky defeated him in the ‘80s, resulting in him continually pressuring his son to be the best. However, Viktor and Adonis’ second match unfolded much differently than the time before, and while Viktor was willing to put his life in jeopardy to avoid losing, Ivan decided to forfeit the fight so that Viktor wouldn’t be hurt further. The father and son were last seen training together back in Ukraine.
Although Ivan Drago’s depiction in Rocky IV painted him as a straightforward villain, Creed II shined a more sympathetic light on the character, while Viktor Drago was shown as a man just wanting to please his father and, like Adonis, be a great boxer. Now that Ivan is no longer obsessed with Rocky and Adonis, he and his son are now free to pursue new goals, which Robert Lawton’s spinoff can explore. Florian Munteanu will reprise Viktor later this year in Creed III, so perhaps that appearance will lay groundwork for the spinoff.
Along with Creed III (which is Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut) just months away from release and this Drago spinoff having taken a major step forward, Sylvester Stallone announced back in 2019 that another direct Rocky movie was in the works that would follow his character training a foreigner who’s stuck illegally in the United States. However, since there haven’t been any major updates on that project in a couple years, it’s hard to say if it’s still being developed or has been set aside. Florian Munteanu has recently starred in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (where he played a sword-armed character) and The Contractor, and he will play Krieg in the upcoming Borderlands movie. Dolph Lundgren’s recently credits include Castle Fall and Minions: The Rise of Gru, and he’s set to respectively reprise Gunner Jensen and King Nereus in The Expendables 4 and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
While we wait for more news about what’s in store for the Drago spinoff, make sure Creed III’s November 23 arrival is appropriately marked on your calendar of 2022 movie releases.