A Rocky spinoff is in the works, telling the story of the infamous antagonist Ivan Drago – but it’s safe to say the project doesn’t have Sylvester Stallone’s blessing.
The 76-year-old actor previously accused Rocky producer Irwin Winkler, 91, of withholding ownership rights to the blockbuster films.
Despite creating, writing and starring in the movies, including the believe spinoffs, Stallone told Variety at the time: “I have zero ownership of Rocky.”
And now with a new spinoff on the horizon, penned by screenwriter Robert Lawton for MGM studio, it appears Stallone once again feels robbed.
Taking to Instagram today (31 July), he wrote: “Another Heartbreaker… Just found this out…ONCE AGAIN , this PATHETIC 94 year old PRODUCER and HIS MORONIC USELESS VULTURE CHILDREN, Charles And David , are once again picking clean THE BONES of another wonderful character I created without even telling me …
“I APOLOGIZE to the FANS, I never wanted ROCKY characters to be exploited by these parasites…”
While he doesn’t explicitly name the producer, The Hollywood Reporter described it as an ‘apparent reference’ to Winkler, although the age is a few years off.
Stallone finished off his post by letting his followers know that he has ‘nothing but respect’ for his ‘true friend Dolph Lundgren’, who portrays Drago in the movies.
Hundreds of fans have flooded the comments section with messages of support, with one writing: “It’s not a Drago story if it’s not written by Sylvester Stallone.”
Another said: “I had no idea you had no hand in this. This is really sad. Rocky is your world, the world you created. Nobody should be able to take the characters you made and so what they want with them.”
In a more detailed comment, a third added: “It’s disgusting that someone who created a franchise that continues to inspire generation after generation would be cut out the way you have been.
“The ownership is bad enough but to have zero ability to keep creating around it without their approval- creatives have to be protected. It just shouldn’t be allowed.
“But the harsh reality is-you can create – he can’t. Stealing is all some can do.
“You have so many exciting things to come and you will continue to create so long as you want. Whether writing, painting, acting.
“It’s sad that at his age he can’t see his errors and grow to a new level and make amends.”
There were also plenty of comments from people saying they’re going to boycott the film, and some fans are so impassioned that they’ve launched a petition demanding for Stallone to get full creative control of the franchise.
Either way, it looks like Dragon is going ahead, with Lawton having been asked by MGM to flesh out the backstory of the infamous Russian fighter.