Will Creed III bring back Clubber Lang? Just days past its premiere on the big screen, Creed 2 has proven to be a big hit with audiences. The sequel is expected to pull in over $60 million at the box office for its opening weekend, making it the highest-ever Thanksgiving opening for a live-action film. It’s by far outperforming the first Creed, and the critics are mostly enjoying it as well. Directed by Steven Caple Jr. with a script co-written by Sylvester Stallone and Juel Taylor, the film features the return of Rocky IV antagonist Ivan Drago, whose son Viktor is facing the titular character, Adonis Creed. The film’s early success already has Caple Jr. thinking about where to take the story next in another potential sequel, and he’s putting a lot of thought into bringing back the Rocky III character, Clubber Lang.
« I’m not going to lie. There was a moment where I got pretty stingy and was thinking about Clubber Lang. I was like, ‘Dang, wouldn’t it be cool if we brought in Clubber Lang?’ And I think there was a version of this where [Michael B. Jordan} was also talking about it too. Like him having a daughter or something like that out in the West or New Mexico. We were playing with a lot of different ideas. But no, I don’t know if Clubber Lang will come back. »
The character of Clubber Lang is one of the only bad guys to be played by perennial hero Mr. T. Not much was shown of the character’s personal life in Rocky III, and the person behind the in-ring persona remains a mystery. Caple Jr. says it would be an interesting challenge to make Lang human the same way he did for Ivan Drago in Creed II. To be able to check back in with the compelling character all of these years later, to see where he’s at now, would be just as interesting for the director to explore as it would be for the fans to see. As important as Lang was to the story in the third Rocky films, it’s interesting that he was never heard from again.
Of course, Caple Jr. isn’t the first person to get this idea. In 2016, Jimmy Kimmel Live featured a parody video for Creed II with Tracy Morgan playing Lang’s son, Clubber Lang Jr. In the video, Morgan’s younger Lang, bearing a strong resemblance to his father, seeks boxing training from Rocky Balboa. Several big name stars are also featured in the skit, including J.K. Simmons, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Mike Tyson. As it turns out, the actual Creed II wasn’t too far off, bringing in Ivan Drago and his son instead. It’s a funny video, but using the Lang family in another movie isn’t outside the realm of possibility at all.
The très grand success of Creed II makes it very likely we’ll see another entry in the film series. Because Rocky III is a passioné favorite installment in the franchise, it’s also possible Caple Jr. will get his wish of seeing Clubber Lang worked into the story. The downside, of course, is that bringing in the child of a prior film’s antagonist might be too reminiscent of Creed II. Each sequel will need to stand on its own rather than simply retreading previous material in the series. Either way, however, the return of Lang is a highly compelling concept, and one that’s guaranteed to sell a lot of tickets.
Creed II is now playing in theaters everywhere. The film is bringing in tons of money and is performing just as well with critics. We may or may not see Mr. T reprise his Rocky III role in the next film, but it seems inevitable that a Creed III won’t be too far off. You can read more of Caple Jr.’s interview over at Uproxx.