Of all the muscular, fight first talk later characters Sylvester Stallone has played throughout his nearly half-century long career, the names he will always be most synonymous with are Rocky and Rambo.
And of those two names, it’s arguably Rocky that will outlive the rest. Just the mere mention of his name and everyone pictures Stallone running up those steps in Philadelphia to the epic tune of Eye Of The Tiger.
Although looking at the guy you’d think Stallone would be far from hanging up the character just yet, it seems he’s finally showing signs of possibly retiring the boxing legend once and for all.
Stallone first made the role his own first in 1975 writing it in three and a half days after watching Ali v Wepner and then in 1976, when Rocky became that year’s highest-grossing film and won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
As well as the string of Rocky films, Stallone’s character has also now appeared in a number of Creed films, in which he plays the mentor/trainer to the son of his nemesis-turned friend Apollo Creed.
As Creed II hits cinemas this week, Stallone has taken to social media to post an emotional farewell, not only for the release of the film, but also – it seems – to the end of his time playing the iconic role.
Posting to Instagram, 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… and end. 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 ….
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I am reposting this because there was a technical difficulty. 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… and end. 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 ….
As Comicbook points out, the resurgence of Rocky in the Creed films has been a bittersweet send-off, as they show the former champion growing old and lonely.
However, the new films also provide the opportunity for Rocky’s story to come full circle, as he ties up loose ends both in his professional and personal life.
Of course, Stallone has previously suggested his time as Rocky was over after the release of 2006’s Rocky Balboa, before he was tempted back to reprise the role in Creed. So time will tell whether he will dust off the gloves at another point in the future.
For his role in the new film, the 72-year-old proved age is just a number as he once again bulked up for the part.
Documenting his work outs on social media, Stallone gave us all an insight into his intense regime.
Stallone also shared footage of himself using a paddle/swim ergometer, giving his shoulders, back and chest a hardcore work-out.
Another clip shows him doing The Headbanger Pull-up, one of the most intense pull-up variations a human being can attempt.
This pull-up is specially designed to simultaneously work out the core as well as the upper body, and is very, very tough going.
Then again, if anyone can do it, it’s Rocky.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.