News broke a few days ago that a spin-off from the Rocky movies was in the works, to be titled Drago. The clue as to what it might be about is in the title.
With six Rocky movies, two Creed movies, and Creed III on the way, the Rocky series can never be accused of being limited. That hasn’t stopped disputes though.
Stallone may have created the character, starred as the character, and written several screenplays in the series including the 1976’s Oscar-winning original, but in 2019 Stallone told Variety he had “zero ownership” of Rocky.
Producer Irwin Winkler, along with his son David, had been the recipient of some pointed words from Stallone regarding the franchise. This was after Stallone bowed out of Creed III, with the impression being that he believed that it had all been taken as far as it could go.
Creed II’s conclusion featured the resolution of both the Drago situation, and Rocky’s personal arc. This included self-forgiveness for what happened to Apollo, and his family issues with his estranged son. Stallone felt Balboa’s journey was complete and had come completely full circle.
Earlier this month Stallone criticised Winkler by name, along with Irwin’s son David, in a social media post. He wrote that he was upset over an ownership dispute related to the franchise. The posts from a fortnight ago have since been deleted.
Now, in a new social media post relating to the Drago announcement, he doesn’t name Winkler but says a 94-year-old producer and his children are:
“…once again picking what is left OFF THE BONES of another wonderful character. I am sorry to the FANS, I APOLOGIZE to the FANS I never wanted ROCKY to be exploited FOR THIS GREED .. # no shame #sad day #Parasite.”
Drago may have broken things inside Rocky that ain’t never been fixed. Now it seems even the theoretical existence of this spin-off may do the same for the franchise itself.
Much like Tommy Gunn found out when he dumped Balboa for Duke, Winkler may discover that fans don’t take too kindly to attempts to carry on without the Italian Stallion in the mix.