Sylvester Stallone has handed over the Rocky mantle to Creed II star Michael B. Jordan.
The 31-year-old actor starred alongside Sylvester in 2015 film Creed, a revival of the Rocky franchise, playing Adonis, the son of boxer Apollo Creed.
Michael reprises his role in Creed II, in which Adonis faces a challenge from Viktor, the son of Dolph Lundgren’s character Ivan Drago, the Russian boxer who killed his father in the ring years ago.
And in an interview on Britain’s The Graham Norton Show, which is set to air on Friday night, he confirmed that Sly, who plays Rocky Balboa, gave him his blessing to take over the franchise.
“On the last day of filming everyone gave their wrap speech and he segued into passing the torch to me and I got really emotional really fast because I wasn’t expecting it from him whatsoever,” Michael said. “It’s a character that he has played for 40 plus years – longer than I have been alive. It was pretty special.”
Despite Sly’s emotional speech, the Fruitvale Station star seemed hopeful that Sly’s involvement in the franchise isn’t over yet.
“We’ll see what happens with Creed III. I’m pretty sure he’ll be back,” he said confidently.
However, the Black Panther star’s confidence that Sly will return is at odds with a lengthy Instagram post the 72-year-old wrote on Wednesday in which he hinted that he had fought his last round.
“I just want to thank everyone around the whole wide World for taking the Rocky family into their hearts for over 40 years,” Sly wrote alongside a video. “It’s been my Ultimate privilege to have been able to create and play this meaningful character. Though it breaks my heart, Sadly all things must pass… and end.”
At a Q&A at London’s BFI Southbank earlier this week, Michael revealed he is keen to return for a Creed III and would like to continue the franchise.