Adonis Creed

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Adonis Creed
Rocky character
Adonis Creed.jpg
Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed
First appearance Creed
Created by Ryan Coogler[3]
Portrayed by Michael B. Jordan
  • Donnie Johnson
  • Hollywood
  • D (by Bianca)
  • Baby Creed
Gender Male
Occupation Professional boxer (formerly businessman)
Relatives Apollo Creed (father)
Mary Anne Creed (adoptive mother)
Unnamed Half Siblings (biological paternal half siblings/adoptive siblings)
Ms. Johnson (biological mother)[1][2]
Nationality American
Adonis Creed
Weight(s) Light heavyweight
Nationality American
Born (1986-06-01) June 1, 1986 (age 32)
Los Angeles County, California, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 17[4]
Wins 16
Wins by KO 16
Losses 1
Draws 0

Adonis "Donnie" Creed, born Adonis Johnson, is the main protagonist and title character from the Rocky spin-off and sequel Creed. Adonis is the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, the result of an affair by the former heavyweight champion and a woman with the surname Johnson who died sometime in the 90's. Adonis spends the first several years of his life in foster care and juvenile hall, until he is subsequently adopted by Mary Anne Creed, Apollo's widow. He lives a life of luxury and maintains a stable white collar job, only to abandon it to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a professional boxer. He goes to Philadelphia and convinces his late father's friend Rocky Balboa to train and mentor him.[5]


In 1998, Adonis "Donnie" Johnson is spending time at a juvenile detention center in Los Angeles, eventually getting into a fight with other children. As a result, he is sent to solitary confinement. Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad), Apollo's widow, meets with Adonis and adopts him; informing him that he is Apollo Creed's son (sired from an extramarital affair). Seventeen years later, in 2015, Adonis (using his biological mother's last name Johnson) is a wealthy young college graduate working at a securities firm. However, on weekends, he sneaks out to Tijuana to fight professional boxing matches against unheralded opponents, and maintains an undefeated 15–0 record. Soon, Adonis resigns from his securities firm job to pursue his dream of becoming a boxer. Mary Anne vehemently opposes Adonis' plot of becoming a boxer, remembering how her husband was killed in the ring during a match against Ivan Drago thirty years ago and how Rocky Balboa was forced into retirement after suffering brain damage. Adonis finds it hard to get anyone in Los Angeles to train him due to his father's death in the ring, particularly after he suffers an embarrassing loss in a sparring match to light heavyweight contender Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler (Andre Ward). Undaunted, Adonis moves out of his mother's residence and travels to Philadelphia in hopes of seeking out his father's best friend and former rival, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone).

Once in Philadelphia, Adonis meets Rocky at Adrian's Restaurant and tries to convince him to be his trainer. Having given up boxing, and believing Apollo wouldn't want his son being a fighter, Rocky turns his offer down. However, Adonis' persistence eventually wins Rocky over. He forms a strong bond with Rocky and regards him as an uncle, even going so far as to call him "Unc" and introduce him to people as such. Meanwhile, Adonis forms a relationship with his downstairs neighbor, Bianca (Tessa Thompson), a singer-songwriter with progressive hearing loss. Donnie gets a match with Leo "The Lion" Sporino (Gabriel Rosado), the son of a trainer, who originally wanted Rocky to coach his son. He moves in with Rocky to train for the upcoming match. Rocky takes Donnie—now known as "Hollywood"—to the Front Street Gym to prepare with the help of several of Rocky's longtime friends, where Adonis markedly improves his hand speed, stamina, and defense. Prior to the fight, Sporino's father learns that Adonis is in fact Apollo Creed's son. After Adonis wins the fight in a 2nd-round KO, Sporino's father alerts the media of Adonis' parentage. Meanwhile, World light heavyweight champion "Pretty" Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellew), due to gun charges, will go to prison, which will effectively end his career, is gearing up for his final fight against Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler. After Conlan breaks Wheeler's jaw at the weigh-in for their title fight, Conlan's manager, Tommy Holiday (Graham McTavish), decides that the best way to end his career would be against the son of Apollo Creed. Conlan is against it, but reluctantly agrees. Holiday meets with Rocky and Adonis, demanding that he should use the name Creed if he wants a shot at the light heavyweight title. Adonis is reluctant due to his desire to forge his own legacy. He only consents after Bianca persuades him to use Apollo's surname.

During one intense night of training, Rocky becomes ill and is taken to the hospital. He is diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but refuses to undergo chemotherapy, remembering that it didn't save his wife, Adrian. Adonis discovers pamphlets about the disease in Rocky's coat pocket after another late night training session, where Rocky tells Adonis that they are not family, and that he has nothing to live for now that Adrian, his best friend and brother-in-law Paulie, Apollo and his old coach Mickey, have died, and his son, Robert Jr., has moved away to Vancouver. Later on, Adonis is about to attend a concert, where Bianca is about to perform. However, after a stranger refers to Adonis as "baby creed", Adonis becomes very upset, and attacks the stranger in a fit of rage, prompting security to restrain him. Adonis is then arrested for assault and sent to jail. When Rocky comes to bail him out, Adonis is still upset, and tells off the former heavyweight champion, accusing him of getting Apollo killed in the ring.

Later, Adonis goes to Bianca's apartment to apologize and explain the situation. However, Bianca deems Adonis to be too dangerous to approach, and orders him to leave immediately in order to protect herself. Adonis then meets up with Rocky, explaining that he is going to use the name Creed and fight against Conlan, but only if Rocky gets treatment for his illness. While Rocky is still sick, he still trains Adonis in the hospital room and back in his house.

The match takes place in Conlan's hometown of Liverpool, England, where Adonis is antagonized by Conlan at the press conference. Before the match, Bianca comes to their hotel at Rocky's behest, and the two reconcile. Mary Anne sends Adonis his father's iconic American flag boxing shorts; the back of the shorts bearing the name Johnson and the front bearing the name Creed. After some early struggles, Adonis shocks the world by giving Conlan all he can handle. He ultimately goes the distance, even managing to knock Conlan down for the first time in his career as Bianca and the once-antagonistic crowd begin to cheer him on. Although he loses by split decision, Adonis gains the respect and admiration of Conlan and everyone watching.

Back in Philadelphia, Adonis and a frail but rather improving Rocky go up the Rocky Steps, representing a victory for both Rocky and Adonis in fighting their respective battles.

Casting and creation

Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler had previously worked on Fruitvale Station together in 2013. Coogler contacted Jordan and presented him with the role of Apollo Creed's son. Jordan didn't use a body double in his scenes. Of his experience, Jordan stated, "I didn't get knocked out or anything like that, but yeah there were definitely some slips, some jabs, some body punches."[6] Jordan had a strict diet in preparation for the role:"I stripped down my diet completely. Grilled chicken, brown rice, broccoli and a lot of water. I worked out two to three times a day, six days a week. And ... if you do that consistently for about 10 months your body will change."[7] Ryan Coogler stated that "That was [Jordan] taking real punches" and became "routinely bloodied, bruised and dizzy" from his fight scenes with Andre Ward, Gabriel Rosado, and Tony Bellew, all of whom are professional boxers.[8] Gabriel Rosado stated of Jordan's boxing skills, "Michael can throw down man. If you sleep on him in the street he might put you to sleep." The real Adonis Creed is a boxer from Marianna, fl named Sam Hall who after losing every fight he was in from the age of 4, including the unfortunate loss to his favorite Teddy Bear, trained himself to box by watching the end of Rocky III. Unfortunately, this was not the most effective boxing training method. Sam "The Bossman" Hall took a road less traveled and the results were less than satisfactory. However, the fictional character of Adonis made this fantasy work.

Ryan Coogler was inspired to make Creed from his experiences with his own father: "He used to play Rocky before I had football games to pump me up, and he would get really emotional watching the movies. He used to watch Rocky II with his mom while she was sick and dying of cancer. She passed away when he was 18 years old. And so when he got sick he was losing his strength because he had a muscular condition. He was having trouble getting around, having trouble carrying stuff. I started thinking about this idea of my dad’s mortality. For me he was kind of like this mythical figure, my father, similar to what Rocky was for him. Going through it inspired me to make a film that told a story about his hero going through something similar to kind of motivate him and cheer him up. That’s how I came up with the idea for this movie."[9] Although Sylvester Stallone was initially reluctant to help out with the film,[10] he changed his mind upon meeting with Coogler and Jordan. In discussing Stallone's advice to him, Jordan said that he "taught me how to throw punches and hit me in my chest a couple times.".[11]


Adonis is torn between trying to preserve his father's legacy and build his own. A.O. Scott of The New York Times wrote that, "Adonis is a complex character with a complex fate. He is at once a rich kid and a street kid, the proud carrier of an illustrious heritage and an invisible man. His relationship with Rocky is complicated, too. The older fighter is a mentor and a father figure, to be sure, but he also needs someone to take care of him, especially when illness adds a melodramatic twist to the plot.[12] Adonis has been described as "arrogant",.[13][14][15] Although Adonis' circumstances change after he is adopted by Mary Anne Creed, his late father's widow, he retains his fiery personality. Short-tempered and impulsive, but good-natured, it is Adonis' tenacity that convinces Rocky to train him.[16] Michael O' Sullivan of The Washington Post analyzed that Adonis' "struggles with his temper" are "a coping mechanism that helps him deal with the fear of not living up to the name Creed." [17] Jordan states of Adonis, "My character is living in the shadow of his dad, who is arguably the greatest fighter that ever lived, and he really has to embrace that to move forward. I could understand wanting to have your own legacy and trying to find your own lane".[18] Adonis' hubris initially causes him to refuse to embrace the name Creed, instead using his mother's surname, Johnson. Only with his girlfriend Bianca's encouragement does Adonis eventually come to accept the name.[19] When Adonis meets Rocky and reveals to him that he is Apollo's son and that he wants the elder former boxer to train him, Rocky questions, "Why would you pick a fighter's life when you don't need to?" He immediately notes that Adonis is well-educated and comes from a wealthy background, which contrasts Rocky's own upbringing. However, Rocky sees in Adonis the drive and determination in himself and Apollo when he was younger, and concedes in training him.[20] After Rocky is diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphona, it is Adonis who motivates him and teaches him to fight again: "Adonis is there to push [Rocky] the same way Rocky pushes him in the gym and in the ring."[21][22] Adonis pays tribute to Rocky, his father, and his country by wearing the classic American flag shorts in his debut professional match that Apollo and Balboa sported in their bouts against Ivan Drago.[23] However, Adonis' shorts have the name Johnson on the back and Creed on the front, symbolizing that he can both preserve his father's legacy and still make his own.


The character of Adonis and Jordan's portrayal of the character have received critical acclaim. Aisha Harris of Slate stated, "I feared signing on to Creed might derail Coogler’s and Jordan’s careers. Instead, this revitalizing crowd-pleaser solidifies my belief that these two have the potential to create really great art."[24] "In a performance that should help his fans forget Fantastic Four, Jordan is flat-out terrific", said reviewer Calvin Wilson.[25] A.O. Scott of The New York Times noted that "Mr. Jordan’s limitations...have yet to be discovered. With every role, he seems to delight in the unfolding of his talent, and to pass his excitement along to the audience."[26] David Sims of The Atlantic said, "Coogler and Jordan...create a protagonist of color who avoids the stereotypes of many of Hollywood’s black heroes while still being celebrated as one. Adonis is an easy hero for everyone to cheer for, but he’s not thinly painted. Scenes where he runs through Philadelphia followed by cheering kids on bikes are especially memorable—they celebrate the film’s myth-making without putting the hero on an unreachable pedestal."[27] Reviewers praised Adonis' relationship with Bianca; Peter Travers of Rolling Stone stated that, "the romance Donny has with his own Adrian, R&B singer Bianca (a terrific Tessa Thompson), feels sexually frisky and freshly conceived."[28] Stephanie Zacharek of Time says, "Jordan’s face, in particular, is the kind you feel protective of. He’s charismatic in a totally carefree way—you never catch him trying too hard, and his scenes with Thompson have a lovely, bantering lyricism."[29]


  1. ^ "How 'Creed' Redefines The Traditional Family Structure". Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  2. ^ Michael Phillips. "'Creed' review: Stallone coaches Michael B. Jordan, everybody wins". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  3. ^ LaToya Cross. "[INTERVIEW] CREED Director Ryan Coogler Talks the Vision Behind His Addition to the Rocky Empire". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Tim Struby. "Could Creed's Boxing Story Line Actually Happen?". Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  5. ^ Sean P. Means. "'Creed' a worthy successor to 'Rocky' title". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  6. ^ Zach Seemayer. "Michael B. Jordan On Filming Intense Boxing Scenes in 'Creed': There Were 'Some Body Punches'". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  7. ^ Mary Pflum. "How Michael B. Jordan Got His Fit Body for 'Creed'". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  8. ^ Zainab Akande. "Did Michael B. Jordan Really Box In 'Creed'? The Actor's Training Routine Was Crazy Intense". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  9. ^ Eliana Dockterman. "Creed Director Ryan Coogler on His Chemistry With Michael B. Jordan". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  10. ^ Justine Browning. "'Creed': 15 Things to Know About the Latest 'Rocky' Installment". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  11. ^ Ashley Spencer. "Creed's Michael B. Jordan: Sylvester Stallone Gave Me Style Tips". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  12. ^ A.O. Scott. "Review: In 'Creed,' Rocky's Back, as a Mentor, Not a Fighter". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  13. ^ Richard Newby. "CREED IS WORTH BELIEVING IN". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  14. ^ Gary Thompson. "Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan triumph in 'Creed'". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  15. ^ Jeremy Dawson. "Creed: The Passing of the Torch". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  16. ^ Eric Eidelstein. "Yo Adrian: 'Creed' Is Really Good". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  17. ^ Michael O' Sullivan. "Movie review: 'Creed' is a worthy successor to 'Rocky'". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  18. ^ "Stallone, Michael B. Jordan on 'Rocky' spinoff". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  19. ^ Ross McDonagh. "'You are still caught in his shadow': Sylvester Stallone has a brush with death while Michael B Jordan takes a mauling in brutal new trailer for Creed". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  20. ^ Jocelyn Noveck. "Review: Yo Rocky! Gritty, Soulful 'Creed' Goes the Distance". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  21. ^ Rhonda Nicole. "Movie Review: 'Creed'". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  22. ^ Dwight Brown. "Creed". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  23. ^ John Clyde. "Is Rocky franchise installment 'Creed' worth seeing?". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  24. ^ Aisha Harris. "Creed Is Good:Ryan Coogler's installment in the Rocky franchise is an invigorating crowd-pleaser". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  25. ^ Calvin Wilson. "Review:'Creed' has plenty of punch". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  26. ^ A.O. Scott. "Review: In 'Creed,' Rocky's Back, as a Mentor, Not a Fighter". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  27. ^ David Sims. "Creed Lands Every Punch". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  28. ^ Peter Travers. "Creed". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  29. ^ Stephanie Zacharek. "Review: Creed Is a Surprise Knockout". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
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