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Sylvester Stallone Likely Won’t Play Rocky Balboa Again

'Creed II,' in theaters now, might mark the filmmaker's last time of starring as the beloved Philadelphia boxer

Sylvester Stallone is suggesting that his time as Rocky Balboa may have come to an end.

“Creed II,” which is currently in theaters, marks the actor’s eighth time playing the boxer from Philadelphia.

The film has earned rave reviews from critics and had one of the biggest Thanksgiving box office opening weekends of all time.

Despite this good news, the 72-year-old Stallone is saying the latest entry in the saga of Rocky Balboa is likely his “last rodeo.”

“I just want to thank everyone around the whole wide world for taking the Rocky family into their hearts for over 40 years,” Stallone wrote recently on Instagram.

“It’s been my ultimate privilege to have been able to create and play this meaningful character. Though it breaks my heart, sadly all things must pass … and end. I love you kind and generous people, and the most wonderful thing of all is that ROCKY will never die because he lives on in you ….”

The caption was attached to a video showing Stallone around a fire with “Creed II” director Steven Caple Jr. and actor Michael B. Jordan (pictured above right), who stars as Adonis Creed, the young boxer mentored by the character of Balboa in the “Creed” movies.

In the video, Stallone says “Creed II” is “probably my last rodeo.”

He then explains that the beloved boxing franchise ended for him in 2006 with “Rocky Balboa,” a film that found an aging Rocky fighting for one last chance to prove himself in the ring.

It was years after that Stallone was presented with a pitch for a way to continue the franchise by filmmaker Ryan Coogler, a man who has said his inspiration to continue it was inspired by his and and his father’s shared love for the “Rocky” films and their inspiring stories.

Check out the video of Stallone speaking below:

It would make sense for this to be Stallone’s final time as Balboa.

“Creed II” gives his character a real ending, and he says to Jordan’s character toward the end of the film, “It’s your time now.”

Even if this is Stallone’s “last rodeo” as Balboa, he’s got plenty of other projects and franchises to keep him busy.

He’s currently hard at work on a fifth “Rambo” movie, which will be released sometime next year. He also has a third “Escape Plan” movie in the can and a few directorial projects he’s circling — Stallone hasn’t directed a feature film since 2010’s “The Expendables.”

Whatever Stallone’s future as Rocky Balboa is, he has created a franchise that will never die. He’s also created a character who will forever live in the heart of American culture. Rocky’s story captured a little bit of the inspiration and spark at the center of the American dream — and people love both the character and these films for that.

The “Creed” films are incredible follow-ups to the original franchise — the new one is even better than the first — and this franchise remains a deeply emotional, involving and patriotic affair that is fueled by the passion of the fans, whether they are behind the camera or just sitting in a theater.

Check out a trailer for “Creed II” below:

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PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at [email protected].