For better or worse, the successful Sylvester Stallone movie Rocky has turned into a successful franchise that continues to this day with the successful Creed series of films. But that franchise and Sylvester Stallone’s character almost died decades ago. According to Slash Film, the actor from Tulsa King, who is now executive producing a new boxing movie called Giant, said that he wanted the third movie to “end with more than a fight” and that he thought about Rocky passing out and dying in a cab ride home after he won a fight.
But why would Sylvester Stallone ever want to kill off a character like Rocky Balboa, who is so well known and popular?
Short answer: Stallone thought at first that fans of the character and series wouldn’t want to see the boxer get older and past his prime. Ironically, though, the fact that the punch-heavy boxer is willing to take on the odds and prove himself against tougher and tougher opponents long after he should have retired made him a fan favorite.
When Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky finally hung up his gloves, he brought the story full circle by becoming a trainer and mentor to young boxer Adonis Creed. In the first two movies, Rocky fought Apollo Creed, and in the next two movies, the famous foe came back. Now that Apollo’s son is also an ambitious and skilled boxer, it’s fun to see Rocky finish his journey by helping the next generation make a name for themselves.
On paper, we can see why Sylvester Stallone would want to kill Rocky when he was at his best. It gives the character a way to go out on top and makes sure (for better or worse) that the actor won’t have to play the same character in a lot of other movies. Harrison Ford wanted to do the same thing by killing off his famous Han Solo character in the first three Star Wars movies. However, he didn’t seem as excited about coming back to the franchise decades later as Sylvester Stallone has.
But there is a big difference in how these two actors wanted to kill off their famous characters. Ford often asked George Lucas to kill off Solo, but it was always assumed that it would happen during a big scene. When The Force Awakens came out, Han Solo died trying to save his son, Kylo Ren but failed. Sylvester Stallone, on the other hand, wanted Rocky to die in an embarrassing way in the back of a cab. We’re pretty sure that Rocky’s biggest fans would have hated such an ending.
We’re certain that no one is happier than Sylvester Stallone himself that Rocky lived past that third movie. The Rocky franchise helped make Sylvester Stallone a Hollywood legend, and Rocky may have been more popular with audiences than his other characters, like John Rambo. He doesn’t come back as this character in Creed III, which means that Rocky probably won’t ever get a seventh movie where he fights his biggest enemy again, which was that weird robot from Rocky IV.