Celebrity actor, screenwriter, and director Sylvester Stallone has expressed displeasure on MGM’s new film about Rocky Balboa’s former opponent Ivan Drago, reigniting Stallone’s resentment of the boxing franchise. The star spent the first couple of years of the pandemic putting together a new, much more self-aware version of Rocky IV, but since then he’s been very vocal about his frustration with Rocky series producer Irwin Winkler—who has continued to control the rights to the films and their Creed spin-offs, effectively shutting Stallone out.
The Rocky franchise will now continue without the Rocky and Rambo film series star, with a third Creed film in the works as well as a recently announced Drago spin-off focusing on Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago and his son, Florian Munteanu’s Viktor Drago from Creed 2. Neither project will include Stallone.
Stallone took to Instagram on Saturday to criticize the upcoming film Drago, which is being written by Robert Lawton and was first reported by The Wrap this week. Although Stallone did not name anyone specifically in his latest post, his mention of a “94-year-old producer” is an obvious reference to Irwin Winkler, who is 91 and has produced credit on all of the Rocky films, as well as the subsequent Creed spinoff films.
The actor implies that if he were at the helm, he would never allow a Drago spin-off, and he apologized to “the FANS” and says he “never wanted ROCKY to be exploited FOR THIS GREED.” He also made remarks about Winkler earlier this month, sharing a drawing of the producer as a serpent.
The star expressed disappointment that he was allegedly denied an equity stake in the “Rocky” franchise. Stallone also mentioned his friendship with actor Dolph Lundgren, who plays Soviet champion boxer Ivan Drago in the films “Rocky IV” and “Creed II.” It is unclear whether Lundgren will reprise his role in the “Drago” spinoff.
The celebrity certainly created the character of Rocky Balboa for the first Rocky film, so it must be one of those old Hollywood deals where writers and creators get screwed while producers get to keep the rights, reports say.