Creed III opened on March 3rd, making it the ninth movie in the Rocky franchise and the third in the successful spin-off series. The film also marks star Michael B. Jordan‘s debut as a director. Several of the fight scenes, especially one in particular, look vastly different from a typical boxing movie and even past Creed films. Critics say Jordan left his creative mark on Creed III, and anime was a clear inspiration.
Michael B. Jordan loves anime
Jordan has often spoken about being a fan of both anime and comics. So it was fitting that he played The Human Torch in 2015’s Fantastic Four and then went on to star as villain Eric Killmonger in Black Panther.
Jordan is also a fan of Denzel Washington, who he calls a mentor. Anime has a specific visual style, and the tips he learned from Washington may have helped Jordan create the innovative look for Creed III’s fight scenes.
While starring in A Journal for Jordan (2021), Jordan watched how Washington directed him — and took notes. He said he saw how Washington “so vividly and clearly sees the movie,” and taught him how important prep work is before filming. He began prepping to direct Creed III by working with a storyboard artist early, which undoubtedly helped film the anime-inspired fight scenes.
So what’s the anime connection in Creed III? Jordan says his love of anime influenced both the action and storyline. The Japanese animation style has specific cues that are evident throughout the film. During the fight scenes, fans will spot the film’s anime-inspired visual elements, such as camera angles and close-ups.
“The void” is the final fight scene, and it’s a memorable one between Adonis and Damian. Jordan explains that although viewers see a vicious battle, every punch is part of the characters’ “conversation.” Jordan tells Deadline, “That ‘void’ scene came from my love of Japanese animation, the anime I watch a lot. The void seemed similar to anime. You have two characters fighting who have really deep ties and emotional baggage. Emotionally, there’s quiet as they talk out how they feel and the way they express themselves, which is boxing.”
Here’s why Michael B. Jordan leaned on his love of anime while directing ‘Creed III’
So why did Jordan choose to base fighting scenes on anime references? During BBC America’s The Graham Norton Show, Jordan says leaning on anime helped him be creative. He explains, “Directing boxing was the easiest thing because it’s something I knew very well. There’s a formula to it. And yes, I wanted to take some creative swings because it’s the ninth movie over the saga.”
Jordan reveals that he was thinking about how to put his “creative stamp” on Creed III, and his admiration for anime proved to be a perfect inspiration. He continues telling Norton during the interview, “You know, you think about how many shots we shot and how many boxing scenes and punches… I had to lean on my love of Japanese animation and the themes of that to kind’ve make this one creatively and visually look different.”
What’s next for Michael B. Jordan?
What will Jordan be working on next? An entire Creed universe is in the works for the MGM movie franchise that aims to capitalize on Creed III’s popularity. Jordan told Deadline, “building the Creed universe is something that I’m really excited about.” We can expect an anime series and a live-action television series. Plus, a future project may be based on the character Amara, Adonis Creed’s daughter.
Speaking to IGN, Jordan confirmed that we could also expect a Creed 4. He said, “I just want to expand the Creed-verse within reason, but definitely expect other things around Creed for sure.”