Michael B. Jordan pulls double duty as star and director for the third installment of the 'Rocky' spinoff.
Michael B. Jordan's Adonis Creed is back in the ring for the third time, and this round is even more personal than the last.
On Tuesday, the highly anticipated trailer for the Jordan-led boxing drama Creed III was released, and fans finally got a proper introduction to Jonathan Majors' Damian.
The film picks up four years after the events of Creed II, finding Adonis and his wife, Bianca (Tessa Thompson), comfortably successful in their life as they happily raise their daughter, Amara (Mila Davis-Kent) -- who was born in the previous installment -- in Los Angeles. Amidst this bliss, Adonis is surprised by the arrival of an old friend and former boxing prodigy, Damian (Majors).
The duo was arrested and taken to a Los Angeles youth detention center when they were younger, but Adonis is the lucky son of a former heavyweight champion who was taken in by his father's widow. His journey led him down a path to fame and wealth while Damian was left in prison for 18 years, showing up after he "just got out last week."
Driven by a sense of guilt, Adonis welcomes Damian into his life only to quickly realize the other's intentions aren't as pure as he thought. While Adonis recalls the two "were like brothers," Damien prefers to remember that he was "the best... But I never got a chance to prove that."
The trailer highlights how quickly the reunion turns sour as Damian reveals how brutal his life of hardship has made him. "You think you mad? Try spending half your life in the cell watching somebody else lives your life. I'm coming for everything," he threatens Adonis, as the footage shows how fiercely he handles his opponents in the ring.
After Bianca encourages Adonis to take Damian on in the ring, the trailer flashes through the usual training montages -- which may remind fans of the similar training Adonis took in the last film and why this third round could be potentially fatal after that harsh beating -- as the two former friends prepare to face one another in the ring.
"I need you to let go of your fear, let go of the guilt, let go of whatever was and walk into what is," Tony "Little Duke" Evers (Wood Harris) tells Adonis as the clip ends. (Watch the trailer above.)
Phylicia Rashad returns to reprise her role as Mary Anne Creed, as well as Florian Munteanu, who portrays Viktor Drago. Several new faces join the returning cast members, including Selenis Leyva, Thaddeus J. Mixson, Spence Moore II, and professional boxer Santos Saúl "Canelo" Álvarez Barragán.
Creed III is the ninth film in the Rocky franchise and the first not to feature Sylvester Stallone in any capacity besides producer.
Jordan pulls double duty for the film, making his directorial debut and playing the film's lead. Ryan Coogler and Steven Caple Jr. directed the first and second films, respectively, with the former remaining as executive producer for both sequels. Coogler also shares story credit with Keenan Coogler and Zach Baylin, the duo who also penned the screenplay.
When asked during a private trailer screening why he decided to take over the reins for the third film, Jordan told journalists that he felt it was "the perfect time" after his extensive experience in various roles throughout "over 20 years" in the industry.
"I finally got to this place in my career where I wanted to tell a story and not just be in front of the camera, not just execute somebody else's vision," he explained. "And having a character that I've played twice before, you know, it's been seven, eight years living with this guy. So to be able to tell a story of where I believe Adonis is at, and also at 35 years old, I had a lot to say as a young Black man [about] my life experiences and how I could actually share a piece of myself with the world through these characters and through this story."
"I was talking to Ryan Coogler back when we were doing Creed and he was just like, 'It's never the right time. You just gotta jump in the deep end and go for it,'" he added. "So, I just felt like it was the right time."
In November 2021, Thompson told ET that directing the third installment was an "aspiration" of Jordan.
"He always knew he would direct the third. I'm excited to support him and to continue the journey of these characters that we love to play," Thompson shared, adding that she feels that Jordan "is born for it."
"He's always been so actively involved in these movies in general, they really are his heart," she said. "So I'm just really excited to support him in this part of his journey."
"Especially as someone who wants to direct at some point in the future too," Thompson added. "It's a gift to think about entering that part of my journey, so I'm so happy to support Mike in doing that."
On Monday, Jordan debuted the first look at the film, sharing three film posters featuring Adonis and Damien.
The first two posters show Adonis and Damien seated in separate corners of a boxing ring, each wearing a pair of gloves and shorts bearing their surnames. "You can't run from your past," the posters warn.
Creed III premieres in theaters on March 3, 2023.