Stallone says "Creed III" was taken in a direction "quite different than I would've taken it."
"Creed III" marks the first movie in the franchise that does not star Stallone as Rocky Balboa.
Stallone said in an interview with THR he has no rights to the character he created.
Sylvester Stallone spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about not reprising his role as Rocky Balboa in "Creed III."
"That's a regretful situation because I know what it could have been," Stallone told THR's James Hibberd. "It was taken in a direction that is quite different than I would've taken it."
Stallone came to fame in 1976 by playing the underdog Philadelphia boxer in "Rocky," for which Stallone also wrote the screenplay. The movie went on to win the best picture Oscar and spawn a successful franchise starring Stallone.
In 2015, the franchise got a resurgence when director Ryan Coogler made "Creed," starring Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, the son of Balboa's rival Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Stallone starred once again as Balboa and was Oscar nominated for the performance.
Stallone returned for 2018's "Creed II," but is not returning to the anticipated third movie, which has Jordan not only playing Creed again but marks his directorial debut.
"It's a different philosophy — [producer] Irwin Winkler's and Michael B. Jordan's," Stallone said of the movie to THR. "I wish them well, but I'm much more of a sentimentalist. I like my heroes getting beat up, but I just don't want them going into that dark space. I just feel people have enough darkness."
Stallone also revealed in the interview that despite having created Rocky Balboa, he has never had any rights to the character, despite asking Winkler.
"It's never gonna happen," Stallone said. "It was a deal that was done unbeknownst to me by people that I thought were close to me and they basically gave away whatever rights I would have had."
"At the time I was so excited to be working and I didn't understand this is a business," he continued. "Who knew 'Rocky' would go on for another 45 years? I've never used one [line of dialogue] from anyone else — and the irony is that I don't own any of it. The people who have done literally nothing control it."
Back in August, Stallone took to Instagram to slam Winkler and actor Dolph Lundgren for developing a spin-off on Lundgren's Ivan Drago character from "Rocky IV" behind his back. Stallone told THR he's since patched things up with Lundgren.
"I'm actually calling him today because he underwent some ankle situation," Stallone said of Lundgren. "The Dolph thing, again, this is a classic case of them going around and trying to continually cherry pick aspects of 'Rocky' without even asking me if I want to join in."
"I'm not an executive producer on the 'Creed' movies. Ryan Coogler is. Michael B. Jordan is. [Winkler and fellow producer Robert Chartoff's] children are. Not mine. I'm the only one left out."
"Creed III" will open in theaters on March 3.
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