Sylvester Stallone once returned to his Rocky franchise with the sixth feature in the boxing series Rocky Balboa. The sequel might have had a brief appearance from Carl Weathers’ Apollo Creed. But Stallone once asserted that Weathers might have wanted too much money for too little work.
Sylvester Stallone felt Carl Weathers’ Apollo Creed was special compared to other ‘Rocky’ villains
The Rocky series had many antagonists for Stallone to square off against in the ring. But Stallone once felt that Carl Weathers’ Apollo Creed might have stood out from the others. He credited Weathers’ unique performance and athleticism as the reasons why there was a spin-off based on his character years later.
“I was so blessed the day I met Carl, who is not just a fantastic actor, but a world class athlete who did things that normal actors and human beings can’t do,” Stallone once told Deadline. “The fact that this is a movie called Creed, and it’s 40 years after Rocky, well it shows the impact that Carl Weathers had with Apollo Creed. I hadn’t seen that in the ring before. Dolph Lundgren was a good athlete besides being a Fulbright Scholar, and Mister T was a good athlete, but nothing quite like Carl.”
Sylvester Stallone nixed an Apollo Creed scene from ‘Rocky Balboa’ because of Carl Weathers’ ‘greed’
Stallone saw himself returning to the franchise in the sequel Rocky Balboa. The film centered on a much older Rocky going back into the ring to face a younger opponent while dealing with family issues.
Stallone wrote the script to include cameos from two of Rocky’s former adversaries. He also wanted Weathers to make an appearance as well. But the idea was nixed when money became an issue.
“Actually Mr. T and Ivan Drago are in a quick montage before the main event in Rocky Balboa. It’s only for a second or two, but I appreciate their agreeing to participate,” Stallone said in a 2006 interview with Ain’t It Cool News. “Apollo Creed is not in Rocky Balboa because he wanted many thousands of dollars for a two second piece of he and Rocky boxing. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford it. Whatever happened to loyalty? Apollo Greed?”
At one point, there were discussions about Weathers’ Apollo returning for the potential sequel to Creed in flashbacks. This was back when Ryan Coogler was attached to the Creed film as a director before moving on to Black Panther.
“Ryan has some ideas of going forward and backward and actually seeing Rocky and Apollo together,” Stallone revealed. “Think of The Godfather 2. That’s what he was thinking of, which was kind of ambitious,” Stallone once told Variety.
Creed 2, however, would later go in a different direction.
Sylvester Stallone regretted Apollo Creed’s fate
Weathers’ Apollo didn’t make it past Rocky IV. But years after the fourth film, Stallone confided that he regretted writing off Apollo the way he did. If he was able to redo Rocky IV today, Apollo’s fate might have changed. In the documentary The Making of Rocky vs. Drago (via Awful Announcing), Stallone discussed what he might have done differently regarding Apollo.
“It was foolish,” Stallone said. “I thought I needed that kind of springboard to propel the drama on this really great velocity moving forward. Him in a wheelchair, he would’ve assumed the role of Mickey. And now, his physicality has been diminished, we would’ve seen a different side of Apollo. He could’ve opened up all these other things that we didn’t even know about. He would’ve been kind of a father figure, brother, mentor.”