Rocky's ghost in Creed 2?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Is that Rocky's ghost we see in the Creed 2 trailers?

If so, does Rocky Balboa die in Creed 2, is he already dead at the movie's onset or will the character survive one more Rocky sequel?

Sylvester Stallone, of course, will reprise his role an aging former champion amd mentor/father figure to Adonis Creed (often called Donnie), a top contender.

And by now, most of us know the plot to this movie.

The hot questions Rocky movies fans are asking:

1) Does Rocky fight Drago again?

2) Does Rocky die in the movie?

But there's another question being battered by a few fans in the forums: 
Are we seeing Rocky's ghost or angel in the trailers?

At first, I didn't buy it. But after the second trailer, which looks sensational, was released, I started to seriously wonder if Rocky was a ghost in all or some of the footage the trailers show us.

Scenario 1: He's Already Dead
In this hypothetical, Rocky, who was battling a serious form of cancer in Creed, slipped away before Creed 2. If that's accurate, he's a ghost throughout the movie or a very strong figment of Donnie's imagination?  

Perhaps Donnie's thoughts of Rocky give him comfort and motivation, and help answer his questions? In essense, Rocky, even in death, never leaves young Creed just as Mickey, Balboa's first trainer, had always promised to be an angel by his side.

There are cues that suggest Balboa could be a ghost, angel or part of Donnie's imagination in some scenes and I'll address that later. For now, though, it appears Rocky is alive in at least a few scenes because the first trailer shows him sitting at his wife's gravesite. He wouldn't be doing that if he's already dead.

Scenario 2: Rocky Dies in Creed 2, So He's Himself in Some Scenes and a Ghost 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 actually see 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.

But, what about the Rocky-Drago staredown?

In the second trailer, we see what appears to be a stare down between Rocky with the elder Drago in the ring moments before the big fight. 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?

And lastly, we don't see Rocky present at what appears to be the 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 the fight. Moreover, 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 fight.

Scenario 3: Rocky dies at the very end
The Rocky-Drago staredown is a strong indicator Balboa is probably still alive at the end, or whenever the Creed vs Viktor Drago bout takes place IF that scene is, in fact, from the big fight.

Theory: My guess is there's a fight after the big fight (Creed vs Drago). Rocky movies always conclude with the big fight at the end but this time may be different.

Should Donnie defeat the younger Drago, his sweet revenge may be short-lived as Ivan, not able to stomach that both he and his son failed, tries to seek a measure of vengeance by killing Rocky, the man he believes is ultimately responsible for the shattered fates of Viktor and himself.

While Rocky and Drago can't get boxing licenses, they clearly have the means to fight in a boxing match if they don't engage in a street fight. In the second trailer, we see Rocky standing in a ring at in a boxing gym appearing to give instructions to young boys below.

Perhaps they square off in that ring. And maybe Rocky knocks out Drago again but is the victim of foul play afterwards a la Kurt Sloane (portrayed by Jean-Claude Van Damme) in Kickboxer 2 (1991).

Now 70ish, we'll certainly see that Rocky can still show flashes of greatness in what could be one heroic last stand - win or lose, live or die.

Scenario 4: Rocky is killed off prior to Creed 3

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 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.


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