Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Creed 3!

The Creed franchise timeline is a mess after Creed 3‘s time jumps and flashbacks create several inconsistencies. The Rocky franchise has long had a rather stellar track record when it comes to maintaining the canon timeline of events. This continued with the first two Creed movies, which utilized several elements from the older films and rather flawlessly incorporated key dates and characters from the past. While Rocky Balboa’s absence from Creed 3 is a sign of how the spinoff franchise is separating itself from the original boxing movies, it is surprisingly with Adonis’ story and other new characters that the franchise’s timeline begins to break.

There is a pretty firm timeline of events for the Creed movies that Creed 3 could build on. It is well-established that the first Creed movie takes place in 2015, while Creed 2 picks up three years later in 2018. In the lead-up to the new movie, star/director Michael B. Jordan confirmed that Creed 3 takes place seven years after Creed 2. This reveal provides a simple path to know that the sequel is meant to take place in 2025 and years after Adonis Creed fought Viktor Drago. However, Creed 3‘s timeline is a complete mess as it repeatedly ignores the established franchise history.

Related: 5 Times Creed 3 Breaks The Cardinal Rules Of Rocky Movies


3 Creed 3 Breaks The Timeline With Ricky Conlan’s Rematch

Creed 3 Adonis vs Conlan Fight

It does not take long for Creed 3‘s timeline problems to emerge, as the early rematch between Adonis Creed and Ricky Conlan creates a big issue. While the movie opens with a flashback to Adonis as a teenager in 2002, it then jumps forward to Conlan vs Creed 2. The movie uses a title card to confirm that this Creed 3 time jump covers 15 years, which places the rematch squarely in 2017. The timing of the event can potentially be pinpointed more specifically to early 2017, as Adonis is 15 in the opening sequence and his birthday is in June.

The problem with Creed 3‘s timeline based on the Ricky Conlan rematch is that it can’t possibly have happened in 2017. This is only two years after they first fought in Creed and means it also pre-dates the events of Creed 2. Considering the rematch with Ricky Conlan was the last professional match before Adonis retired, it happening before Creed 2 cannot possibly be true. The rematch should have taken place at least 17 years later after Creed 3‘s opening sequence set in 2002, which would have cleared it to take place after Creed 2 and allow Adonis’ retirement to work.

2 Creed 3’s Present Day Story Contradicts Official Timeline Placement

creed 3 amara creed creed 4

It also appears that Creed 3‘s timeline breaks as a result of its present day placement. The movie features another time jump after Conlan vs Creed 2 that moves Adonis’ story up to the “present day,” which would be 2023. However, this contradicts the official confirmation from Michael B. Jordan that Creed 3 takes place seven years after Creed 2. The seven years later time jump would only work in this sense if Creed 2 were retconned to take place in 2016, but that would be only one year after the original movie. A misunderstanding of when Creed 3 should take place perfectly represents the overall confusion.

1 Creed 3 Breaks The Timeline With Damian’s Prison Sentence

Damian Anderson in Creed 3

The other way that Creed 3‘s time jumps break the timeline is through Damian Anderson’s backstory and prison sentence. The movie introduces Jonathan Majors’ villain by connecting him to Adonis’ past. It is in the 2002 flashback that Damian is arrested for having a gun and stepping in to protect Adonis from Leon. When Damian returns to Adonis’ life in the present day story, he says that he just got out of prison recently. He mentions that he was in prison for 18 years as a result of this event, which would mean he was released in 2020.

Related: Jonathan Majors’ Workout & Training For Creed 3 Explained

As already established, Creed 3‘s story does not take place in 2020 and simply cannot take place at this point. This is arguably the most surprising part of the timeline mess, as Damian is an original character created for the purposes of this story. That should mean the story could perfectly account for fitting him into the story. While it is impossible to make sense of Creed 3‘s timeline due to the various inconsistencies, Damian’s prison sentence would largely fit if he was arrested for 23 years. A loophole does exist that Damian’s trial took several years before his sentencing officially started, but Creed 3 does not explain that.

More: Creed 3’s Adonis vs Dame Winner Explained

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