Creed 3 Star Opens Up About Sylvester Stallone’s Absence

Creed 3 star Tessa Thompson says she felt like Stallone was on set even when he was not.

By Chad Langen | Updated

tessa thompson
Tessa Thompson in Creed

Creed 3 is now playing in theaters around the globe, and despite stellar reviews from critics and audiences alike, viewers were quick to notice that Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa is nowhere to be found in the threequel. During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Tessa Thompson, who plays Bianca Creed in the film, shared what it was like making the latest franchise installment without the iconic actor. Unlike die-hard fans of the long-running series, it took the actress some time before she realized Stallone wasn’t on set.

“This might sound like a line, but I sincerely think that he’s so a part of the DNA of this that he felt ever-present to me,” she said of Stallone’s absence. Thompson went on to admit that she was shocked when she finally realized the 76-year-old actor wasn’t on the set of Creed 3. “There’s something about returning to these movies and all the history that we have with them, and Sly is so wrapped in that,” she explained.

The Thor: Ragnarok star certainly makes a good case for why she didn’t immediately notice Sylvester Stallone wasn’t onset. While Creed 3 marks the first time in nine movies that the actor doesn’t make an appearance, he was undoubtedly on everybody’s mind during the making of the film. And even though the Oscar-nominated actor isn’t in the latest franchise entry physically, his Rocky character does get name-dropped a few times.

In his own interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sylvester Stallone revealed that his departure from Creed 3 was due to creative differences. The actor didn’t agree with the film’s dark tone, particularly when the Rocky franchise is known for being uplifting. Plus, Michael B. Jordan was focused on making a movie entirely about Adonis Creed, so Stallone’s character likely wouldn’t have had much do to in the film.

michael b. jordan creed 3

Fortunately, Creed 3 seems to be doing just fine without Stallone’s involvement. Although Rocky Balboa is sorely missed by some franchise fans, his absence hasn’t seemed to deter folks from seeing the film on the big screen. In fact, the threequel recently set the record for the biggest opening for the Rocky spin-off series.

Initially, Creed 3 was projected to bring in between $36 million and $40 million in its first weekend before box office analysts bumped that number up to $51 million on Saturday. Of course, the film completely exceeded everyone’s expectations when it opened to a massive $58.6 million. Around the world, the acclaimed picture already has a running total of $100 million.

Creed 3 centers on Adonis Creed, who after dominating the boxing world, has been thriving in both his career and personal life. When his childhood friend and forming boxing sensation Damian resurfaces after serving a lengthy prison sentence, he believes he deserves a shot in the ring. The face-off between the former friends is more than just a fight. Adonis must put his future on the line to battle the ruthless fighter who has nothing to lose.

Directed by Michael B. Jordan from a screenplay written by Keenan Coogler and Zack Bayline, Creed 3 is now playing in theaters around the globe. The film stars Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors, Bobby Hernandez, Yahya McClain, Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran, Wood Harris, Phylicia Rashad, Mila Davis-Kent, Selenis Leyva, Spencer Moore II, and Tony Bellew.