Michael B. Jordan, director of Creed III and its lead actor, has spoken in an interview with HOT97 about the decision to exclude Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa from the movie.
This will be the first time the iconic character is absent from the franchise, having appeared in some capacity in every instalment since 1976.
Jordan said: "Sly and Rocky's DNA is through this entire franchise, you can't have these movies without that.
"That underdog spirit, I think, connects the underdog in all of us.
"I think what we love about these movies so much is that we see somebody that's going through hardships, that's able to rise from the ashes and reach the mountaintop, and we connect with that."
Jordan went on to talk about how this now needs to live on independently as Adonis, and the direction he's taking to build up the character in its own right.
Creed 3 sees Jordan's Adonis Creed face down Damian Anderson (Jonathan Majors), who is a friend returning from Adonis' troubled past to get revenge.
Jordan stated: "I want Adonis to stand on his own two feet.
"In order to do that, we had to go into the past. What were those transformative years, those childhood traumas that shaped Adonis today?
"I think the room for this story was really about Adonis Creed moving forward with his family, and having him move forward."
Creed 3 releases in cinemas today, March 3.