Sylvester Stallone announces retirement of his ‘Rocky’ character

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All-American boxing hero “Rocky Balboa,” the rough, yet beloved character played for decades by Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone, has most likely graced the silver screen for the final time in the latest film from the franchise, Creed II.

Stallone announced in a post to social media that he is hanging up the character’s gloves and stepping aside to let the next generation move forward with their own stories of underdogs prevailing against the odds.

“Rocky” has officially retired

In a post to Instagram on Wednesday, Stallone wrote: “I just want to thank everyone around the whole wide world for taking the Rocky family into their hearts for over 40 years. It’s been my ultimate privilege to have been able to create and play this meaningful character.

“Though it breaks my heart, sadly all things must pass,” he added. “I love you kind and generous people, and the most wonderful thing of all is that ROCKY will never die because he lives on in you.”

In an accompanying video, which featured Stallone and several others gathered around a bonfire, the actor expressed similar sentiments and figuratively passed the mantle along to his most recent co-star, actor Michael B. Jordan, who plays Rocky’s young protégé in the Creed movies.

“I thought ‘Rocky’ was over in 2006, and I was very happy with that, and then all of a sudden this young man presented himself and the whole story changed, it went on to a new generation, new problems, new adventures,” Stallone said.

“And I couldn’t be happier, because as I step back as my story has been told, there’s a whole new world that is gonna be opening up, for the audience and this generation,” he added, giving special praise to both Jordan and directors of the latest film.

Stepping aside for the next generation

The Rocky character has been featured in eight separate movies as part of the highly successful film franchise that began in 1976.

The latest iterations featured an elderly Rocky assuming the role of his former old trainer, Mickey, to provide guidance to up-and-coming boxing star Adonis Creed, son of Rocky’s first great opponent in the ring, Apollo Creed.

The Creed movies have done exceedingly well both in the box office and with critics, leaving Stallone satisfied that the franchise is in good hands and that the story of underdogs rising to greatness through hard work and perseverance will continue onward.

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The character of Rocky has been an American hero for more than four decades, and though he may never headline the box office again, his memory will live on.

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