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December 12, 2017

'Creed 2' gets a new director; filming to begin in Philly next year

Movies Creed
Creed Rocky Stallone Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros. Pictures

Sylvester Stallone, as Rocky Balboa, and Michael B. Jordan, as Adonis Johnson, are pictured here in a scene from the film 'Creed.'

The latest film in the revival of the "Rocky" franchise has a new director.

According to an exclusive report in Variety on Monday, Steven Caple Jr. has been chosen to direct "Creed II," replacing Ryan Coogler.

Coogler, who directed the 2015 release "Creed," will likely move into an executive producer role for the franchise's next installment. Michael B. Jordan, who plays the film's main character, Adonis Creed, congratulated Caple Jr. on Twitter after the news broke.

Jordan joins Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson in reprising their roles for the sequel, in which Adonis Creed will try to avenge the death of his father, Apollo Creed, by fighting Russian boxer Ivan Drago.

Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren, killed Apollo during a fight in "Rocky IV." Lundgren will reprise his role for "Creed II."

RELATED: 14 movies you didn’t realize were filmed in (and around) Philadelphia

Originally, Stallone had planned to direct the sequel, but decided to find someone else after discussing it with Jordan and studio executives. Stallone and Jordan handpicked Caple Jr., Variety reported, and it will certainly be a big test for the Cleveland-born director. Per Variety:

The gig is Caple’s first feature at a major studio. Insiders say his work on the IFC pic “The Land,” Caple’s coming-of-age tale that he directed right out of USC, was a big selling point for Jordan, Stallone, and the execs. “The Land” premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and tells the story of four teenage boys who devote their summer to escaping the streets of Cleveland to pursue a dream life of professional skateboarding.

Production is set to begin in Philadelphia in March 2018. The film is slated for a Nov. 21, 2018, release.