Rocky IV

Having dined well on the twin intoxicants of strong critical buzz and moderate box-office success, mumbling oracle Sylvester Stallone has emerged this week to prognosticate on the future of the Rambo and Rocky franchises, and specifically its surprise-success spinoff series Creed. Talking to Variety, the punch-drunk sibyl echoed comments from co-star Michael B. Jordan and MGM studio head Gary Barber, who’ve both expressed interest in a sequel to Ryan Coogler’s 2015 boxing success.

But Stallone, unwilling to simply say, “Sure, that sounds fun” and move on with his day, went into a lot more hypothetical detail than Barber’s simple, “There’s no doubt that we’re making a Creed 2.” Instead, the veteran actor, Oscar-winning screenwriter, and giant, oft-punched bag of meat threw out a bunch of hypothetical angles that the film could take, including a flashback-and-Carl-Weathers-heavy retrospective on the series, à la The Godfather Part II, or Stallone’s usual narrative fallback: getting into an epic, patriotism-tinged punch fight with a massive, intimidating Russian guy.

“You’ll have him face a different opponent, which I would say is a more ferocious, big Russian,” Stallone said, letting a hint of flag-draped, prophetic glossolalia fall over him. “You can start to meld my experiences, and then you start to bring different cultures into it.” (i.e., the culture of the mid-’80s, when giant-Russians-as-bad-guys was a more workable formula for box-office success.) Stallone then went on, pitching a wider narrative arc for the potential film, involving conflict with Adonis Creed’s love interest, played by Tessa Thompson. “The complication will come with the girl’s ambition, because she’s not Adrian. She has places to go, things to see, the clock is running on her hearing.”

Speaking of the clock, Stallone suggested that Coogler’s potential commitment to Marvel’s Black Panther might mean the sequel would have to look for a new director, lest the new franchise’s recently acquired momentum be lost. “There’s a diminishing time acceptance of a sequel,” the Rocky Balboa and Rambo star told reporters, apparently without irony. “Now they are cranking them out in a year.”