Creed III’s trailer implies Adonis “Donnie” Johnson is retired. If that’s true, the implications are huge for Donnie’s looming showdown with Damian.
The first trailer for Creed III heavily implies Adonis “Donnie” Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) is retired, and that surprising reveal raises the stakes for the much-anticipated sequel to Creed II in several key ways. According to Michael B. Jordan, his directorial debut will feature Donnie and Bianca (Tessa Thompson) as “young adults dealing with professional careers and family, and the choices that come with that.” Creed III’s trailer alludes to those choices repeatedly, with one sequence seemingly revealing that Donnie is now retired and focused on the boxing industry’s business side.
A quick shot of a Forbes magazine cover sitting on a table shows Donnie’s face with the headline “What’s Next for the Champ.” It’s too early to say how long Donnie has been retired, or if he is even retired at all. However, given Creed III reportedly takes place seven years after the events of Creed II, Donnie’s presumed retirement raises questions about his ability to fight Damian “Dame” Anderson (Jonathan Majors) while also making Creed III’s plot more compelling than it already promises to be.
How Donnie’s Retirement Affects His Fighting Ability
Michael B. Jordan’s interview with CinemaBlend and Creed III’s trailer emphasizes Donnie’s priorities are different in the third installment of the Creed franchise. While there’s a path for Adonis to avenge his only boxing defeat, it seems Donnie and Bianca are at “the next stage, the next crossroads” of their lives. Not only has Donnie apparently stepped away from the boxing ring in a fighting capacity, but it seems like he’s spending serious time bonding with his daughter, Amara, as she also tries her hand at boxing.
The years after Creed II have treated Donnie well from a financial standpoint; the trailer makes sure to establish Donnie’s wealthy lifestyle and his prestigious boxing gym that he seemingly owns and manages. There are red flags too, though, such as an eyebrow-raising moment where Donnie is on the phone and slowly closes his right fist in a disconcertingly cautious way. If Donnie has been retired for an extended length of time during Creed III’s time jump, and if he’s also dealing with residual injuries and the long-term consequences of a professional boxing career, that could make him a serious underdog against the hulking Damian.
Donnie’s Retirement Makes Creed III Even More Compelling
Donnie being an underdog against Damian would be an appropriate, amazing story decision because it embraces what makes the entire Rocky franchise so lovable and memorable. The scrappy underdog persevering against all odds is a timeless sports movie trope, and Creed III is going out of its way to elevate every aspect of the story for maximum emotional appeal. Even training montages just become inherently better when it’s an underdog embracing “the thrill of the fight” and “rising up to the challenge of [their] rival.” Adonis’ Creed III story is hurtling towards a bloody, brutal, visceral knockout victory, but whether that victory is Donnie’s or Damian’s is the lingering question.