Creed 3 director and star Michael B. Jordan has explained why Sylvester Stallone will not be back as Rocky Balboa in the upcoming sequel. In the first two Creed movies, Stallone's Rocky served as a mentor for Jordan's Adonis Creed, the son of Rocky's old pal Apollo Creed. Most fans were probably expecting the Italian Stallion to return alongside Jordan for Creed 3 as well, but it was revealed last week that Rocky won't be involved.

At the time, a reason wasn't given for Stallone's absence in Creed III, but Jordan has since provided an explanation. Speaking about the situation in a recent chat with IGN, here's what Jordan had to say when asked why Rocky won't be present in the new movie.

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"Yeah, I think that Sly let it be known that he wasn't coming back for this one but I think, you know, his essence and his spirit... there's always going to be a little bit of Rocky within Adonis. But this is a Creed franchise, and we really want to build this story and this world around him moving forward. So, it's always respect and always a sh*t-ton of love for what he's built, but we really want to push and navigate Adonis forward and the family that he created. So, hopefully you guys will love what I'm thinking... what we're cooking up. I think it's going to be something special."

With Rocky out at Creed 3, it's unclear if and when we'll ever see the iconic character again. In 2018, Stallone posted a video to Instagram saying farewell to the iconic role. Referring to Creed 2 as his "last rodeo," Stallone left a heartfelt goodbye message to the franchise he helped create in the caption.

"I just want to thank everyone around the whole wide World for taking the Rocky family into their hearts for over 40 years," Sylvester Stallone wrote. "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. I love you Kind and generous people, and The most wonderful thing of all, is that ROCKY will never die because he lives on in you..."

Since then, Stallone has made some efforts to bring back the Rocky Balboa character in one way or another. He has expressed his desire to make a new Rocky movie that would serve as a part of the original series separate from the Creed movies. Conceived as an "epilogue story," the movie would follow an elderly Rocky who takes a young fighter under his wing for a big fight south of the border. Stallone was still working on the movie last year, but it had yet to get an official greenlight.

Last month, Stallone also said he's working on a Rocky prequel series that would be set in the years before the original movie. Sly says the plan is to produce multiple seasons, but as with the planned Rocky sequel, it hasn't yet officially gotten the order to start filming. In the meantime, Stallone recently finished his Director's Cut of the acclaimed sequel Rocky IV, so fans will have that to look forward to at the very least.

As for Creed 3, the movie is currently scheduled to be released on Nov. 23, 2022. This news comes to us from IGN.