Does Rocky die in Creed 2?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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On Wednesday, a second official movie trailer for Creed II was released.

The Creed movie series, of course, is a spin-off of the Rocky films.

Why Creed?

The franchise's intent is to pass the torch from mythical sports legend Rocky Balboa to Adonis Creed, who is the son of the film series' late, great heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, Balboa's rival in the first two movies and best friend in segments three and four.

And for those counting, Creed 2 is essentially Rocky 8.

And yes, Sylvester Stallone will reprise his role an aging former champion amd mentor/father figure to Adonis, a top contender.

By now, most of us know the plot to this movie... Rocky's protege, Adonis, faces Viktor Drago, the son of his father's killer, Ivan, who was the villain in Rocky 4. Incidentally, Dolph Lundgren will reprise his role as the evil Ivan Drago.

So, the big question: Does Rocky die in Creed 2?
In the first installment of Creed, Rocky battled a serious form of cancer and it's not yet known if he beat it. Given the state of his health in the previous movie, Rocky is at least somewhat vulnerable in this one.

After seeing both Creed 2 trailers, my best guess is he doesn't die in this movie, but I wouldn't wager on it.

The case against Rocky dying in Creed 2
In the second trailer, Rocky, while in the ring seemingly moments before the big fight, is seen engaging in a wicked staredown of sorts with the senior Drago, his longtime nemesis. As a result, we can presume he doesn't die prior to the big fight, which will likely be at the end of the movie.

Remember when Rocky's trainer, Mickey, died in the middle of Rocky 3, leaving Balboa lost and scared before Apollo valiantly stepped in to help get his career and life back on track? That circumstance seemingly won't repeat itself.

In the Rocky 3 trailer, we saw former Balboa foe, Apollo Creed, in an altogether different role as Rocky's protege and friend. Moreover, since Mickey was absent from many of the training scenes one could have surmised beforehand he dies in the movie. Thus far, I can't find anything suggesting Rocky dies in Creed 2.

Rocky dying would certainly be a big deal and if it happens in this movie, the writers have done an excellent job by creating doubt on all ends. Just when you think you have the answer, something makes you second-guess.


Fast Fact: The original version of Rocky V (1990) called for Rocky Balboa to die after a severe in-ring beating by Tommy Gunn, played by late boxer Tommy Morrison.

"At the end of the movie, he is on the way to hospital. His head is in Adrian’s lap and he dies because he’s taken this great beating from Tommy Gunn,” according to director John Avildsen via

“And the last scene of the movie, Adrian comes out of the hospital and there’s the world press assembled because Rocky then is a big deal and she announces that he is dead, but as long as people believe in themselves Rocky's spirit will live forever."

The case for Rocky dying in Creed 2

Given the above stated, don't be surprised if Rocky dies in Creed 2.


In August 2017, Stallone told TMZ Sports that things will get violent between Rocky and Drago, saying: “It wouldn’t be a party without Drago would it? I’m gonna punch him. You know I gotta hit Drago once.”

Also, given Stallone and Lundgren started intense training for the film, one must surmise they'll be doing something physical. Of course, that doesn't mean they have to fight but it sure makes it more likely

If Rocky and Ivan Drago trade blows in Creed 2, the odds of Rocky's death in the movie skyrocket because Rocky is a) vulnerable due to his health and b) has to die sometime because the series is transitioning away from the Rocky films.

As for Ivan Drago, let's not forget he's a bitter man. His epic loss to Rocky some 33 years prior probably sent his life into a tailspin. Heavily favored against the much smaller Balboa in the most-watched boxing event ever, Drago, the Russian, was defeated by Rocky in front of a worldwide audience after the Soviet government had hyped Ivan as an unbeatable killing machine. Following the loss, he was likely rejected by his countrymen and never able to shake that "betrayer" stigma.


Rematch Fast Fact:  Adonis and Viktor fight twice in the movie and the trailers give it away. I won't tell you why, but there are clues that make this certain.


Drago definitely has a motive to kill Rocky as well the means, given he's much younger and presumably healthier.

... Or, wait a minute. Maybe Viktor Drago kills Rocky in attempt to avenge his father's loss just as Adonis faces Viktor to avenge Apollo Creed's loss?

In his 70s and presumably battling cancer, Rocky's certainly not getting a license to box so if he fights either Drago it'll be an impromptu exchange outside the confines of a boxing ring.

Regardless of what happens in this movie, it's easier to see Rocky going out in a blaze of glory than on some lonely hospital bed.

Possible cue - Funeral?
Why are boxing legends Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones, Jr and Evander Holyfield in this movie? Upon learning this, my initial thought was several old boxers were needed to attend Rocky's funeral. If Rocky has a funeral, a bunch of retired boxers would undoubtedly be in attendance.

If Rocky dies in Creed 2, maybe it'll happen near the beginning or middle of the movie as Rocky will live long enough to impart more wisdom on Adonis but, as a result of Creed's decision to fight Drago, will meet his demise.

Possible cue? Earlier this week Dolph Lundgren told Celebtainment he feared getting "lynched" at the 'Creed' premiere. "I was sitting in the audience with my girlfriend and the movie's about to start and I'm thinking, 'S**t, I'm the guy who killed [Donnie's] father - they're going to lynch me here," the actor informed Celebtainment.

Is it also because he kills Rocky in Creed 2

Lundgren shared more details about what to expect from Drago this time around:

"He's lost everything -- his country, his wife, his respect and he's been living as an outcast when we find him."

"The only thing he has that's worth anything, apart from his drive for redemption, is his son who is another heavyweight fighter."

"This is Drago's chance for revenge for what's he's gone through."

Revenge... Hmm.

And when questioned if Drago and Rocky fight again, Lundgren offered a mysterious reply.

"You'll have to see the picture but there is a surprise in that realm I would think, yes."

"That's all I can say."

'In that realm?' Is Lundgren trying to tell us something?

Darkhorse Scenario: Rocky Dies in Creed 2 and is Himself in Some Scenes and a Ghost of Sorts in Others

In the Creed 2 movie trailers, Rocky is donning his trademark fedora in every scene minus one, which is weird. Let's not forget, we saw a lot of that Fedora in Rocky 5, the forgettable movie that was originally scripted to kill-off Balboa.

There's one split-second clip in the first trailer that's perhaps the most revealing in both.

We see actually Rocky without his hat. He appears to be sitting down in his restaurant or at a boxing gym and has a concerned, perhaps even frightened, look on his face. That clip is no ghost. It's Rocky.

Something big is happening in that scene.

Another indication we might be seeing Rocky's ghost in some scenes is his clothing. It's almost always the same in every scene in the trailers - The fedora and a dark pullover with a grayish t-shirt beneath it. Even when he's in Donnie's corner prior to the big fight, he's wearing the same outfit and not a customized ring jacket typically worn by cornermen. In the first Creed, he sported a ring jacket at the big fight.

Why isn't Rocky dressed for the occasion?

Those things are strange... Unless Rocky is, in fact, a ghost, angel or strong figment of Donnie's imagination.

But, what about the Rocky-Drago staredown? He can't be a ghost if others can see him too.

In the second trailer, we see what appears to be a stare down between Rocky and the elder Drago in the ring presumably moments before Creed vs Drago 1 or 2. Rocky, or his ghost, is definitely looking at Drago but who or what is the grimacing Drago staring at? If it's Rocky's ghost, can Ivan somehow see what Donnie sees?

Remember that quote:  Remember Lundgren's quote (above) about whether Rocky and Drago will fight.... "But there is a surprise in that realm I would think, yes."

Also, do Rocky and Drago come face to face at another event prior to the Creed vs Drago fights? We do know Adonis and Viktor fight twice.

And lastly, we don't see Rocky present in what appears to be the Donnie vs Viktor weigh-in nor do we see him in Donnie's entourage during his ring walk, but he - or his presence - is clearly with Donnie for at least one of the fights. Moreover, in the second trailer we see what appears to be a cryptic presence of Rocky telling Donnie, "It's time, kid" while the former is in his dressing room moments before what is presumably the big fight.

Weird stuff.

Far-Reaching but Possible Scenario: Rocky is Already Dead at the Movie's Start

Creed left off with Rocky battling a serious form of cancer so it's conceievable he's dead when the movie starts but AdonIs keeps him alive in his heart and mind. After all, Rocky's interaction with anyone other than Adonis is minimal throughout the trailer.

When asked about the Creed sequel, Stallone told Variety in February 2016:

"I really have mixed feelings about this, seriously. I feel like Rocky, at the end of this movie on the steps, with the help of a young man, and he looks out and says, ‘From here, you can see your whole life’ — it sort of summarizes the whole thing. I don’t know how much further you can push Rocky."

Was that final scene in the original Creed the end of Rocky’s prolific journey? If so, it would be a fitting end.

Possible Scenario: Rocky Survives This One But is Killed Off Prior to Creed 3, the Next Movie

By the time Creed 3 is filmed, Sylvester Stallone will be at least 75. (He's 72 now). Given the franchise's intent is to pass the torch from Rocky Balboa to Adonis Creed, the Italian Stallion’s death in or before Creed 2 or 3 is likely iminent.

So, how will Rocky die

We never see Adrien, Rocky's deceased wife, die nor do we see Paulie, his brother-in-law, pass away. We learn it in the repective subsequent sequels. Perhaps that's how Rocky dies too?

Maybe his funeral and epic highlights from previous movies will offer the opening scenes of Creed 3?


Perhaps the movie directors believe that Rocky is so iconic that no on-screen death scene could do him justice? Moreover, having to watch him die, especially by unnatural causes, could ruin Creed 2 for fans who have followed the series since the 1970s and 80s.

Watching Mickey and Apollo die was bad enough.

Perhaps Rocky slips away between Creeds 3 and 4 and our final thoughts of him are as a kind, wise old sage who could kick ass all the way till the end?

I like this scenario best.

With or without Rocky's death, the plot for Creed 2 is solid. 

We'll find out what's in store for Rocky when Creed 2 debuts on November 21.

Does Rocky die in Creed 2? Please share your thoughts.



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