Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Creed 3!Creed 3 officially replaces Apollo Creed in the Rocky franchise by giving Viktor Drago a similar role to play. From the beginning of the Creed franchise, the movies focused on Apollo Creed’s secret son Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) have copied some of the same beats that the original Rocky movies did. Adonis took on the lead role of the franchise previously occupied by Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa. Meanwhile, the movies saw the Italian Stallion make the transition from fighter to trainer, effectively making him the Creed movies’ version of Mickey Goldmill. They even brought back other characters from past movies.


For all the ways the Creed movies have replicated the Rocky formula, the role that Apollo Creed played in the original movies was not copied. Carl Weathers’ character played a prominent role in the earlier films as he started out as the villain of Rocky. Apollo’s arc saw him return in the sequel as the villain once again, only this time he lost to Rocky in the final fight. He then returned in Rocky III as an unlikely ally for Balboa, and then Apollo died in Rocky IV. The Creed movies have tackled Apollo’s legacy through Adonis’ story, but now Creed 3 has revealed his franchise replacement character.

Related: Rocky Isn’t The Only Franchise Character Confusingly Left Out Of Creed 3

Viktor Drago’s Creed 3 Role Mirrors Apollo’s Rocky 3 Story

Based on Viktor Drago’s Creed 3 role, he is the Rocky franchise’s new Apollo. The third installment of the sequel franchise gives Viktor a role that mirrors Apollo’s Rocky 3 story. In the 1982 movie, Apollo agrees to help Rocky train for his rematch fight against Clubber Lang. It marked a full switch for Apollo from being viewed as a partial antagonist for Rocky and began his journey of becoming one of the franchise lead’s best friends. It is thanks to the advice and training provided by Apollo that Rocky is able to defeat Clubber Lang and reclaim his belt.

Although the circumstances are slightly different, Creed 3 copies this storyline for Viktor Drago by having him return in the third act to help train Adonis for his fight against Damian Anderson. After being Adonis’ main villain in Creed II, the third film brings Viktor back to establish that the former enemies are on better terms before he comes to Adonis’ aid to help train him for the final Creed 3 fight. It is a small moment in the larger context of the story, but Creed 3 still manages to show that Viktor has made the switch from villain to ally, just as Apollo did in the original Rocky franchise.

Viktor Becoming The Franchise’s New Apollo Is Good For His Spinoff


The way Creed 3 makes Viktor the franchise’s new Apollo comes at the perfect time, as it is good news for the upcoming Drago spinoff movie. If Viktor had not returned and received this type of role, audiences could still have some complicated feelings about following Ivan Drago’s son as the lead of a movie. Creed 2 did some work in making both characters more sympathetic, but Creed 3‘s Viktor Drago arc allows viewers to see resolution has happened. This should help make it easier for viewers to root for Viktor’s success in the Drago spinoff, but hopefully, he does not suffer the same fate as Apollo any time soon.

More: Creed 3’s Other Rocky Change Was Bigger Than Stallone’s Absence

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