The search for Viktor Drago lasted several months and took place around the world. The production met with comedians and athletes from various disciplines as martial arts, kickboxing, boxing, and American football. After spending several months looking at hundreds of photos, videos and audition recordings, Stallone unearthed German boxer Florian "Big Nasty" Munteanu, weighing 106 kg. and measuring 1.95 m.
Dolph Lundgren collaborated with director Steven Caple Jr to change his physique and age the character of Drago to visually translate the poverty and suffering endured, as he colored in yellow his teeth.
Brigitte Nielsen, who reprises her role from Rocky IV (1985) as Ivan Drago's ex-wife Ludmilla, is in real life the ex-wife of Sylvester Stallone. They were engaged during filming of Rocky IV, married after the premiere, and divorced two years later.
One of the extras during the big fight between Creed and Drago, was also an extra in Rocky IV during the fight between Apollo and Ivan. Initially from winning the role of extra from a cereal box contest (rocky 3) and from auditioning online (Creed II)
When Adonis is looking at "archival footage" of Apollo Creed's death on his tablet, it's actually unused takes/angles from Rocky IV. This footage initially showed up in one of the TV spots for the film, showing on a TV screen at the restaurant that Adonis and Bianca visit after his championship fight. In the TV spot, the footage was not yet restored, with dirt/debris still present. However, in the final film, the footage has been properly restored and color-timed. Director Steven Caple Jr. even mentioned in a Vanity Fair video that he was given access to raw footage from Rocky IV, albeit in regards to using footage from the Rocky/Drago fight.
Originally, director of Creed, Ryan Coogler, did envision on doing a Creed trilogy. However, due to being busy with directing Black Panther, it's unknown to what were his original plans for the sequels.
In a video published on November 28, 2018 on social networks, relayed by The Hollywood Reporter, the 72-year-old American actor declares that he will probably no longer embody his iconic character on the screen. Images filmed during the last day of filming Creed II, which show "Sly" address emotionally to his team. To accompany the video, Stallone turns to the fans with a message in the form of a farewell to the character who made his glory.
The 5th film in the franchise to feature Rocky's turtles, Cuff and Link, having previously appearing in Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky Balboa, and Creed. They are the same turtles from the first two films, Rocky Balboa in the 70s and 2006 and have been Sylvester Stallone's real life pets for nearly 50 years at the time of filming.
Brigitte Nielsen was 7 months pregnant when shooting her scenes, making it necessary to shoot around her bulging stomach. She gave birth to her fifth child and first daughter, Frida, exactly two weeks after the movie was wrapped up.
Adonis defeats Stuntman Wheeler in Las Vegas at the newer incarnation of the MGM Grand, which opened in Vegas in 1993. Interestingly, Apollo Creed's fateful fight where he died against Ivan Drago took place at the Las Vegas' old MGM Grand (now Bally's).
After ten weeks of filming in Philadelphia, Steven Caple Jr, Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone and the technical team traveled to Deming, New Mexico (who camped Death Valley) to shoot the scenes taking place in the desert.
Before Adonis' fight against Danny "The Stuntman" Wheeler, Adonis' crew are waiting in a room named 'Ars Gratia' which means 'for art's sake'. This is the motto of the Metro Goldwyn Mayer, one of the studios that produced and distributed the film.
Throwback to Rocky 2: Bouncing Ball When Rocky is anxiously accompanying Adonis in the Hospital corridor for delivery of his baby, Rocky is bouncing a small ball. During Rocky II, Rocky is shown playing with it in the hospital corridor while waiting for Adrian's when she is giving birth. CORRECTION: When Rocky was bouncing the ball in the hallway in Rocky II, he was standing outside of the doctor's office waiting on word of whether or not Adrian was pregnant. When Adrian did give birth, Rocky was in the hospital waiting room with Paulie and received the news that Rocky Jr. Was born and Adrian he lapsed into a coma.
Tessa Thompson, who comes from a family of musicians and performs in a band, performs too three songs in the film. In particular, herself sings "I would go to war" to present Adonis heading to the ring of the Moscow Olympic Stadium to face Viktor Drago at the end of the movie.
One of Rocky Balboa's peptalk to Adonis Creed includes, "Go For It". This was said to Clubber Lang before their second bout in Rocky III and as he was coaching Tommy Gunn in Rocky V. "Go For It" even became a tagline in Rocky V.
A Creed sequel was confirmed in January 2016, although due to both Coogler and Jordan's involvement in Black Panther, the film was delayed, with Coogler ultimately being replaced by Caple. Stallone completed the script in July 2017 and announced Lundgren would be reprising his role as Drago, and filming began in Philadelphia in March 2018, lasting through July.
Like a Robert De Niro for Raging Bull or Jake Gyllenhaal for Southpaw, Michael B Jordan has undergone a very intense physical training to be credible on the screen in the skin of the boxer Adonis Creed. He trained two to three times a day and also had to follow a diet of chicken, brown rice, broccoli while drinking five liters of water daily and leaving behind sugars, bread, pasta , dairy products and cheese. Note that Michael B. Jordan has already had to prepare in this way (but less intense according to his words) to play quarterback Vince Howard in the series Friday Night Lights.
Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren trained as madmen for the filming of Creed II. They have posted on their social networks videos of them physically preparing themselves as if they were still thirty years old. The least we can say is that it commands respect because the first is 72 years old and the second is 61 years old. On a video posted on Instagram, we can see Stallone doing traction with 45 kg of extra weight tied around his pelvis. For his part, Dolph Lundgren released a six-minute video showing him in training.
Adonis' victory over Danny "The Stuntman" Wheeler and winning the Mustang car is a call back to their sparring match in the previous movie. Further, Adonis gets criticized for feeling satisfied with his victory and was told "The Stuntman" was 3 years past his prime. The previous movie is exactly 3 years before this one.
First time in the Rocky/Creed franchise since Rocky IV that a new entry in the series is released only 3 years after its predecessor. Rocky V was 5 years after Rocky IV, Rocky Balboa was 16 years after Rocky V, and Creed was 9 years after Rocky Balboa.
Sylvester Stallone suffered to play Rocky, even ending up in the hospital after being demolished by Dolph Lundgren on the set of Rocky IV. For Creed II, Michael B. Jordan also gave of his person, grazing the knockout multiple times despite his intensive training and muscle gain. Note that the young actor had been put on the mat on the set of the first Creed after a devastating punch of his opponent. For Stallone, taking a KO on the set of a film from the Rocky saga is almost a ritual.
This is the fourth movie releasing in 2018 that features a Kendrick Lamar song in its previews. The first was Den of Thieves (2018) ("m.A.A.d City"), the second was Black Panther (2018) ("Pray For Me," "Opps," and "All The Stars"), the third was The Equalizer 2 (2018) ("Backseat Freestyle"), and this one ("DNA").
Director Steven Caple Jr wanted to slow down the action at certain moments of the matches to underline the physical and emotional blows of this "violent ballet". The chief operator Morgenthau then used the Arriflex Arri Alexa camera, equipped with Panavision lenses, but also the high speed Phantom filming at 1000 frames per second. Many scenes were also shot at 120 frames per second. The boxing scenes have been carefully prepared in advance: the different phases that compose them each have their own style, but blend harmoniously into the color palette associated with this or that atmosphere.
Florian "Big Nasty" Munteanu, a German-Romanian boxer with impressive build (1m95 for 106 kilos) was chosen to play Viktor, the son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). During the casting phase, UFC fighter Sage Northcutt campaigned on social media to get production attention; he wanted to camp Viktor Drago himself.
An important plot point in the film is Rocky's feelings of responsibility and guilt for not stopping the fight when Apollo Creed was killed in the ring by Ivan Drago in Rocky IV (1985). However, the writers chose to omit the fact that the referee attempted to stop the fight, but was thrown aside by Drago who continued to hit Creed, and ultimately killed him in the ring. So even if Rocky had thrown in the towel, it seems doubtful that Drago would have stopped fighting just because Rocky threw in the towel, since he already completely ignored the referee's attempt to stop the fight.
Michael B. Jordan wanted the coach Patrice "Boogie" Harris to make him work like a real boxer and surprise him with unexpected tactics that he can use to develop his speed and coordination, making an intensive training working with bear paws is an integral part of a boxer's heart pack. He must also practice the practice of punching bag and jumping rope. Usually the boxers make rounds with mittens and practice skipping rope.
Robert Balboa's (Milo Ventimiglia) son is named Logan. Milo Ventimiglia has spoken Wolverine/Logan's voice several times in various Marvel Anime series. Like Blade (2011), Marvel Anime (2011), Wolverine (2011)
Adonis looks on his tablet for archival footage of the death of his father, Apollo, during his fight against Draco. These are shots directly from the shooting of Rocky IV and were ultimately not used in the final editing.
Some spectators will recognize two sports halls. Starting with Little Duke's Gym, where Apollo Creed used to train and where Adonis, in the first game, meets Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler and has to give up his beloved Mustang after an impulsive bet then wins again with its title of heavyweight champion at the beginning of Creed II. Front Street Gym is also seen in the Kensington neighborhood of North Philly, where Rocky trains Adonis. This is another iconic site for anyone looking for authenticity and cachet. Old paint cans are suspended from the ceiling to plug water leaks, huge punch bags are joined by Chatterton and sway along rusty chains, themselves attached to planks that run through the ceiling. And the room has not changed much for a long time. The production was delighted to find many different sets in the Philadelphia area, allowing scenes to be shot in Russia, Ukraine, Las Vegas and in Los Angeles.
Principal photography began in March 2018. Filming occurred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the city's Port Richmond neighborhood, and was completed on June 7, 2018. Some scenes were filmed at the Grey Towers Castle at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Last words Rocky says to Adonis, "It's your time now". On November 28th 2018, Sylvester Stallone announces via Instagram that this is his last movie playing Rocky. He continues by saying, "Now you have to carry the mantle," to Michael B. Jordan.
A brief fight scene between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago was filmed, but omitted from the theatrical release. The scene would take place in the hospital by the security desk area. Both would exchange fists before immediately being broken up by security and Drago's crew.
In the film, Bianca has "progressive hearing loss" (that didn't become noticeable until she was a young woman), while her daughter Amara was born almost totally deaf. It is extremely rare for a person with progressive hearing loss to produce a totally deaf child with a partner that has no congenital hearing abnormalities themselves (Adonis Creed).
In a scene from Rocky II, during the fight between Apollo and Rocky, before one of the rounds, Duke says to Apollo, referring to Rocky: "Don't let up on this man, this man is dangerous!" To which Apollo replies "This man is dangerous? I'm dangerous!" Similarly, in Creed II, when Rocky tries to convince Adonis not to fight Viktor Drago Rocky tells Adonis "This guy - he's dangerous." Adonis roars back, echoing his late father, "I'm dangerous!"
In a deleted scene Rocky attends the funeral of "Spider" Rico, the first person we see Rocky fight all the way back in the first movie. Rico would return in Rocky Balboa (2006), he reunites with Balboa and is allowed to eat free at Adrian's. Rico volunteered to help wash dishes at the restaurant in return.
HBO Boxing commentating team Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman, and Roy Jones all make an appearance in various fights throughout the movie. However, Roy Jones is noticeably absent on the team in the final fight in Moscow, Russia. Ironically enough, Roy is also the only member of the team to have a Russian citizenship.
The rematch between Adonis Creed and Viktor Drago have similarities to the match between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. This includes, freeze frame of punches to the face and the larger boxer picking up and throwing down the smaller boxer.
First in the Rocky series where there are no significant personal tragedy to Rocky since Rocky II: Rocky III (Mickey's death); Rocky IV (Apollo's death); Rocky V (loss of Rocky's richness); Rocky Balboa (Adrienne's death); and Creed (Paulie's death).