7 Rocky Characters & Actors Who Returned In The Creed Movies
With the Creed movies are a continuation of the Rocky series, it’s not a surprise that a number of Rocky characters have returned for the Creed movies. The Rocky franchise is densely populated with beloved boxers, lovable side characters, and despicable villains; naturally, the Creed series brought some of the original films’ most popular characters back to the big screen. Some of these Rocky characters play huge roles in the Creed movies, while other characters have blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo appearances.
Creed tells the story of Adonis Creed, the son of the original Rocky’s main antagonist, Apollo Creed. The Creed movies have reintroduced the world of Rocky to a younger generation, with the films containing the same elements that made the original series great while simultaneously putting a fresh spin on things. With Creed III and other Rocky spin-offs right around the corner, it seems likely that the reboot series will continue to bring back beloved characters and actors from the original series, continuing their stories in new and interesting ways. So far, seven Rocky characters and actors have reappeared in the Creed movies.
7 Rocky Balboa
The most relevant Rocky character that returned to the Creed movies is the titular Italian Stallion himself, Rocky Balboa, still played by Sylvester Stallone. Rocky was the main character of the original series, with the Creed movies shifting Balboa to a supporting character in order to put the spotlight on Adonis Creed. In Creed, Adonis Creed wants Rocky to be his trainer, causing him to travel to Philadelphia in order to hunt the retired boxer down. Rocky reluctantly decides to train Adonis while still feeling guilty for the death of his father, Apollo Creed. With his age and his cancer diagnosis, Rocky’s story in Creed is a tragic one.
Sylvester Stallone again returns as Rocky in Creed II, this time warning Adonis about the dangers of fighting Viktor Drago. After getting pummeled in his first match, Rocky decides to once again train Adonis as a way to avenge Apollo’s death at the hands of Viktor’s dad, Ivan Drago. By the end of Creed II, Rocky’s story is pretty much complete. Rocky’s wife and best friends are dead, his mind is at peace, and he has reconciled with his son. While Balboa may have been the main character of six Rocky movies, the Creed films were the perfect way to conclude his arc.
Sylvester Stallone won’t be in Creed III, with Rocky Balboa’s absence being a first for the franchise. It isn’t yet known how Rocky’s absence will be explained, with possibilities including the character’s death or him moving to Canada to be with his son. While the Italian Stallion will be missed, this seems like the right choice, as all of Rocky’s loose ends have been tied up.
6 Ivan Drago
Another character who returns for the Creed movies is Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren. Ivan Drago is a fierce Soviet boxer who acts as the main antagonist of Rocky IV, with the villain being one of the most influential characters in the franchise. Ivan Drago kills Apollo Creed during a boxing match in Rocky IV, directly setting up the events of every subsequent Rocky and Creed movie. Even though Drago doesn’t directly appear in the first Creed movie, his presence is definitely felt, with Adonis lamenting the death of his father at the hands of Drago.
Ivan Drago is a secondary antagonist in Creed II, acting as the trainer of his son, Viktor Drago. Drago’s return means that emotions are high throughout Creed II, with the Dragos seeking to reclaim their former glory after being beaten by Rocky in Rocky IV. Drago’s appearance in Creed II was the film’s main selling point, and it seems that the character’s time in the spotlight is far from over. There have been heavy rumors of an Ivan and Viktor Drago spin-off movie, meaning that the two characters could return from Creed II and get even more fleshed out.
5 Ludmilla Vobet Drago
Ivan Drago’s wife, Ludmilla Vobet Drago, first appears in Rocky IV and reappears alongside the rest of her family in Creed II. Still played by Brigitte Nielsen, Creed II reveals that Ludmilla left Ivan after his loss to Rocky in Rocky IV. Ludmilla only associates with her family again in Creed II due to Viktor being in the spotlight, although she abandons them again mid-match when Adonis begins to beat Viktor. Ludmilla acted as Ivan Drago’s main mouthpiece in Rocky IV, and although she didn’t get much screen time in Creed II, the film showed just how cold and cruel she still is.
4 Robert Balboa Jr
Rocky’s son, Robert Balboa Jr., gets a cameo appearance at the very end of Creed II. Robert first appears in Rocky II as an infant, where he is played by Sylvester Stallone’s real-life son, Seargeoh Stallone. Robert again appears as a four-year-old played by Ian Fried appears in Rocky III, a nine-year-old played by Rocky Krakoff in Rocky IV, and a ten-year-old played by Stallone’s other son, Sage Stallone, in Rocky V.
However, the biggest Robert Balboa Jr. appearance is in Rocky Balboa, where an adult version of the character is played by Milo Ventimiglia. Ventimiglia’s version of the character is the one that returns in Creed II, with Rocky finding his estranged son in Vancouver, Canada. Although Robert’s appearance in Creed II is small, it is easily one of the film’s most beautiful moments.
3 Mary Anne Creed
Mary Anne Creed is the wife of Apollo Creed in the original Rocky movies, but after Apollo Creed’s death she changed a lot. Mary Anne discovered that Apollo had been having an affair, with that relationship producing a child named Adonis. After finding out that Adonis is an orphan, Mary Anne adopts Adonis, with the character acting as Adonis’ surrogate mother in both Creed movies. Mary Anne is played by Lavelle Roby in the original Rocky and Sylvia Meals in Rocky II and Rocky IV. However, due to Meals’ death, Mary Anne was recast, with actress Phylicia Rashad playing Adonis’ mom in Creed and Creed II.
2 Jacob « Stitch » Duran
Jacob « Stitch » Duran is a real-life cutman who made his first Rocky appearance as the cutman for Mason « The Line » Dixon in Rocky Balboa. In the films, Duran plays himself, performing his real-life cutman boxing role. Duran reappears in Creed as part of Adonis Creed’s corner team, with the character returning again for Creed II. Duran has already confirmed his involvement with Creed III, making him one of the only Rocky characters to appear in all three of the spin-off movies.
1 Apollo Creed
Apollo Creed returns in the Creed movies, but in a different way from the rest of the characters on this list. Rather than having Carl Weathers film new scenes, Apollo only appears in archived footage due to the character’s death in Rocky IV. These scenes are always an emotional gut punch, with Apollo Creed’s complex dynamic being a massive part of the story of the original Rocky movies and the Creed series.