Sylvester Stallone is saying goodbye to Rocky, the character and franchise that he has embodied for more than 40 years.
On Wednesday, the 72-year-old actor, who has scored three Oscar nominations for the beloved franchise, posted a video from the Creed II set where he seemed to declare the end of Rocky Balboa and officially passed the franchise on to Michael B. Jordan.
“This is probably my last rodeo, because what I thought happened — and has happened — I never expected,” shared Stallone after Jordan can be heard calling for a speech. “I thought Rocky was over in 2006 [the release of Rocky Balboa], and I was very happy with that. And then all of a sudden this young man [gesturing towards Jordan] presented himself and the whole story changed. It went on to a new generation, new problems, new adventures. And I couldn’t be happier, because as I step back, because my story has been told, there’s a whole new world that is going to be opening up for the audience, for this generation. Thank you very much, [Creed II director] Steven [Caple Jr.], and definitely you, Michael, for making that possible. Now you have to carry the mantle.”
Stallone and Jordan can then be shown sharing an embrace in the video, which can be watched below.
Alongside the video, Stallone continued the emotional goodbye. “I just want to thank everyone around the whole wide world for taking the Rocky family into their hearts for over 40 years,” he wrote in the caption. “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.”
Stallone first laced up the gloves as Balboa in 1976 for Rocky, for which he earned Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay nominations at the Oscars. The small boxing movie would win Best Picture and spawn five more movies over the next 30 years, all written by and starring Stallone, who also directed four of them. Then, in 2015 came the release of Creed, the Rocky spin-off/sequel that moved Balboa to a supporting role and put the focus on Jordan’s Adonis Creed. Ryan Coogler’s film, the first not written by Stallone, earned critical and commercial success and an Oscar nomination for Stallone’s performance. Stallone returned to star in and co-write this month’s Creed II, which ended with Balboa being reunited with his estranged son, setting up a happy ending for the legendary character.
Ahead of Creed II‘s release, Jordan shared a video of himself and Stallone hitting speed bags together during production and wrote about the “surreal” experience.
“I was going through my phone archives and thought I’d show you guys some BTS of the film and our process,” he said. “@officialslystallone is the [GOAT] of this fight/film thing. It’s hella dope and surreal to me that I’m hitting the speed bag with Rocky, like y’all that’s really ROCKY! Lol. I grew up watching and mimicking all of the Rocky films and boxing matches and now I have not one but TWO films with Mr. Balboa just makes me feel like a kid again and I’m enjoying every moment.”
Creed II, which also stars Tessa Thompson, is now in theaters.