The movie still comes on TV seemingly about every week these days, a constant, never-ending reminder about the most troubling death in cinema history to those who grew up in the 1980s. Whenever Rocky IV airs, I cannot look away, as the still-startling death of Apollo Creed always seems so unnerving, and in some ways, too real.
I always watch because I somehow hope that the ending will be different, that Rocky, as Creed’s cornerman, will not honor the ex-champion’s request to not stop the fight at any cost. That he will throw in the towel, much to Apollo’s dismay, and let him live rather than die as a “warrior.” Creed would rather die than not be able to fight for what he believes in anymore. But many of us would rather have seen him live, to recover and stay by Rocky’s side as the everlasting friend he was meant to be.
That is how powerful and deep the Creed character was. He almost made you believe he was real. Apollo Creed is my all-time favorite supporting cast character. He was the ultimate villain, turned into the ultimate wingman. His death was gruesome, untimely and unbecoming. We cannot change the ending, but we need better closure on the Apollo Creed story. I meet many other big fans of the Rocky saga who would love to see some missing pieces filled in of the tale of a once-great champion.
When we first encountered Apollo, he was a great showman and athlete who was entering the end of his prime. That was obvious when Rocky took him the distance, and then fought him to a near-draw in the second film. But many of us love the Apollo character so much, we would love to see more of his story. Let’s see the legend of Apollo develop, and how he rose to where he was by 1976, the year of the first Rocky film. If the Star Wars series included prequels, why not the Rocky series? It’s time for a Rocky-related prequel, even if it’s not in theaters. Heck, a lot of fans of the series would view it as a made for cable television effort.
Sylvester Stallone is a marvelous writer and film creator, and you know he simply can’t end the series after his last Rocky movie. There’s still a hunger to do another Rocky-related film burning inside of him. Why not get together with Carl Weathers, who according to some accounts, did not care for how his character’s story ended, and conjure up an Apollo Creed prequel? Even if Weathers is no scriptwriter, it is his character and should have some of his input in the project. If Weathers is indeed interested in helping pen a script, all the better.
The film would fully cover Apollo’s young life and rise to prominence as a legendary champion, when not even the likes of an Ivan Drago could defeat Apollo at his best.We could then flash to present day at the end of the film, when Apollo’s son reclaims the title and preserves the honor of the Creed family.
There is no way to bring Apollo Creed back from the dead, but he can certainly be brought back to life. His tale can now be told properly, and he can be put to rest as he should have been, not as a undeserving punching dummy.
Many of us loved the Apollo Creed character. Let’s give him his proper sendoff and celebrate the life that only Sly Stallone and Carl Weathers can ably embellish on and thrill their fan bases all over again.