Veteran actor Sylvester Stallone has announced that his days as iconic on-screen boxer Rocky Balboa are officially over.
The 72-year-old actor in a video posted on Instagram said the recently released Creed II arks his “last rodeo” as Rocky aka Italian Stallion, a character he played in eight films over 40 years.
“Well, this is probably my last rodeo because what I thought happened, and has happened, I never expected.
“I thought Rocky was over in 2006; I was very happy with that. Then all of a sudden this young man presented himself (gesturing towards actor Michael B Jordan) and the whole story changed. It went on to a new generation, new problems, new adventures,” Stallone said in the video.
The actor said the story of Rocky has been told and it is time for “a whole new world that’s gonna be opening up for the audience, this generation.”
“Thank you very much, (director Steven Caple Jr.), and you, Michael, for making this all possible. Now you have to carry the mantle,” Stallone added.
Stallone first played the iconic boxer in 1976 feature Rocky, which he had also penned.
At the 49th Academy Awards, the film bagged three Oscars, including the Best Director and the Best Picture.
Since then, the franchise has spawned seven sequels: Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990), Rocky Balboa (2006), Creed (2015) and Creed II (2018).