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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Excitement is building throughout Philadelphia before “Creed II” hits theaters Wednesday. Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone return to the big screen for the Philadelphia-filmed sequel to the original “Creed,” which centered around the son of Apollo Creed and his mentor and friend, Rocky Balboa.
Adonis Creed is an undefeated boxing champion who is challenged by Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago — the man who killled Adonis’ father.
“He got back in the ring,” Jordan said. “He felt like he had to kind of settle that battle.”
It’s a role that took intense training by Jordan.
“It was tough,” Jordan said. “I took it as a challenge between me and my trainer. We really wanted to build what we did in ‘Creed 1’ and ‘Black Panther.'”
The same dedication was shown from pro boxer Florian “Big Nasty” Munteanu, who played Viktor Drago.
“We had to make it more realistic, so Mike had to come up 20 pounds, I lost like 20, 25 pounds,” Munteanu said.
WATCH: CREED II STARS GO 1-ON-1 WITH CBS3’S CHANTEE LANS
It’s a blast from the past, as actor Dolph Lundgren returns to play his original role of Ivan Drago.
“These guys were terrific in the ring and they were just as good as Sly and I were back in ’85,” Lundgren said. “It all comes down to the script, the director.”
That director is Steven Caple Jr.
Caple said bringing back Drago was “one of my favorite things to do, because that was my stamp.”
He also brought back Adonis’ love interest, Bianca, played by Tessa Thompson.
“It was really inspiring to get to play a woman that has this beautiful child come into her life,” Thompson said.
“He never had that stable family environment, so when he found out he was going to be a dad, it’s something he ran towards,” Jordan said of Adonis.
Like the iconic “Rocky” movies, the film was shot in Philadelphia.
“I love the city of Philadelphia and it’s a character in our film and the ‘Rocky’ franchises as well,” Jordan said.
“There were a lot of doubts right in front of the movie because I was playing the son of an iconic role, but Philly showed me love right away, and that’s why I love Philly and it’s going to always stay special for me,” Munteanu said.
Lundgren says “Creed II” will leave viewers with something uniquely familiar.
“The story is better in this picture,” Lundgren said. “The actual drama, I feel is on the same level as the first “Rocky,” where there was no villain, it was just about people and that’s, I think, humanity and that’s what this film is — humanity,” Lundgren said.
Tourists still visit the iconic “Rocky steps” at the Art Museum to this day. “Creed II” will hit theaters Wednesday — 42 years to the date of the first “Rocky.”