The Creed franchise was so much more than a boxing film. It’s a celebration of Black culture through the lens of an underdog sports movie. In it, we witnessed the rise of a champion in Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) who not only stepped out of his father’s shadow, a father he never knew but also faced his demons fighting his father’s killer while also telling a powerful Black love story. And we get to see how all of that evolves in Jordan’s directorial debut, Creed III.
The Nerds of Color had a chance to join their fellow journalists for the virtual world premiere of the Creed III trailer. In it, we see where Adonis and Bianca (Tessa Thompson) are at their lives as a family. But when Anderson Dame (Jonathan Majors), an old friend of Adonis, is freed from his incarceration, he intends to make Adonis pay for all the time that he has lost by humiliating him in the boxing ring.
While that’s more of an oversimplified description of the film, we learned more about it, the characters, and more from a virtual post-Q&A with Jordan.
With every sequel comes new characters filling an antagonistic role that challenges the protagonist in unimaginable ways. And for Creed III, it’s personal, as Anderson Dame blames Adonis for everything that has happened to him, including spending time in prison. Now, in an attempt to hold the world champion accountable, he vows to humiliate Adonis by fighting him in the boxing ring.
Jordan told the press that Majors is an incredible actor and considered himself to be blessed and lucky to have him be a part of this story. “For me as a as a director, just to have that running just to have that running mate and have that scene partner made all the difference in the world,” Jordan said. “I think he’s extremely talented. The world is finding out daily how incredible this man is in the work that he does, is finally getting the props that’s due. And Jonathan was incredible, man. He showed up every day ready, ready to go to war, ready to work.”
“Me and him bonded in a way that I never had an opportunity to. And I guess it’s my first time directing that relationship between, you know, director and actor,” Jordan added. “I really understand that now, and it’s a bond that’ll last forever. So just really lucky to have that gentleman by my side, you know, while I’m going through this process.”
As for the character of Anderson Dame, Jordan described him as “a pivotal person and a pillar in Adonis’s life, that kind of comes back around, and it needs to kind of get addressed.”
Tessa Thompson, who appeared in the first two Creed films as Bianca, returns as Adonis’ wife and mother of their child, Amara. Jordan echoed the “lucky” sentiment having worked with Thompson for two films already.
“She’s a rock. Trust is a huge thing and having earned each other’s trust, being in scenes together, and now having her trust me as a storyteller, was the biggest compliment that she’s given me thus far,” he said. “The encouragement and confidence that I have with my cast helps me go out and do things that seem, you know, impossible or really, really tough to do. So knowing I got that support in front of the camera with these guys, knowing they’re giving me this space to do all the other things that a director has to do and still show up every day, giving 110%. You know these two guys are right there. I’m blessed.”
And the Creed film franchise celebrates the underdog just as much as it celebrates Black families. But Jordan wanted to do more than illustrate that. He wanted to reduce the stigma of disabilities by normalizing ASL and not asking for sympathy. And having a character like Amara — played by a real-life deaf actor Mila Davis-Kent — highlighted the importance of that representation and normalization. “
I think naturally it was the right evolution of the Creed family,” Jordan said. “Dealing with ASL in Bianca’s character, from since Creed I, and how that evolved to her becoming a mother and the possibility of our child being hard of hearing, ultimately being deaf, and how the family evolves. How do they grow? How do they deal with that obstacle and turn it into a superpower?”
Of course, music can be more than a storytelling tool. It can be just as much of a character as the actors. “Music was definitely a tool for storytelling that we wanted to evolve, especially because we have such a strong character like Bianca being a musician, but wanting to evolve her as well not just keep doing the same things over and over again,” Jordan said. “So we found new ways to grow beyond his character in a way that I felt was truthful. And in kind of like the natural progression for where these characters were going.”
As for the music, Jordan says “you’re going to hear a lot of familiar voices and sounds throughout this movie.”
“A new sound but familiar voices that are from artists that that people are, are familiar with,” Jordan clarified. “I think we’re gonna be really excited to hear. And, you know, currently working on the soundtrack, we have Dreamville executive producing the soundtrack with J. Cole. So that’s another big piece to this as well, within the storytelling throughout the soundtrack that I think people would be really, really excited about as well. We wanted to make sure we fired off on all cylinders, you know, just being the third movie throughout the Creed franchise.”
“We wanted to make sure we grew up, and still double down on the things that people expect and love from this franchise, but also take them to new places as well,” Jordan added.
Creed III opens in theaters on March 3, 2023.