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Sylvester Stallone Won’t Direct Creed 2 After All

MGM and Warner Bros. have announced that indie filmmaker Steven Caple Jr. will direct Creed 2, the sequel to the Oscar-nominated Rocky reboot Creed. Caple Jr. allegedly replaces Rocky Balboa himself, Sylvester Stallone, who announced on Instagram in September that he was “looking forward to directing” the latest installment of the franchise.

Jonathan Glickman, president of MGM’s motion picture group, told Variety that the decision was made because of Caple Jr.’s vision. “We could not be more fortunate and excited for the collaboration of Steven, Sly, Michael and the producers, to build upon the success of Creed,” Glickman said. “The combination of Steven’s talent and unique vision makes him the perfect director to continue the Rocky franchise’s storied lineage.”

Stallone also attributed the change to Caple Jr., best known for writing and directing the 2016 Sundance standout The Land, being more qualified for the job. “The character of Adonis Creed reflects this generation, and I believe it is important to have a director who is part of it,” Sly wrote on Instagram. “That is why I think we are Lucky to have Stephen Caple ,Jr A wonderful new talent take over The directorial chores [sic] and make the story as relatable as possible… He and Michael B Jordan will deliver a knockout!”

Caple Jr. will direct a screenplay, co-written by Stallone and Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker, that follows the life of Adonis Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan, as he deals with [SPOILER] newfound fame from nearly earning the light heavyweight belt in Creed. Ryan Coogler, who directed the first installment, is expected to sign on as an executive producer. Production is expected to start this spring.

In the weeks since Stallone announced he was directing the film, The Daily Mail resurfaced a 1986 police report in which a 16-year-old girl alleged that Stallone and his bodyguard forced her to perform oral sex on them at the Las Vegas Hilton, and that Stallone threatened to “beat her head in” if she told anyone. Stallone’s spokeswoman has called the allegations “ridiculous” and “categorically false.”