What happens to Ivan Drago after the events of Rocky IV? Here’s how an unmade spinoff compares to the storyline of the 2018 franchise movie Creed II.
Fans have long wondered what happened to Ivan Drago after the events of Rocky IV but an unmade spinoff would have revealed he was sent to a Russian prison. The 1985 movie ends with the Soviet Army captain losing the support of a Russian crowd after being defeated by the American boxer Rocky Balboa. In a defiant act, he also publicly assaults his manager Nicolai Koloff and informs Communist leader Mikhail Gorbachev that he fights for himself, not for Russia. Drago’s fate is acknowledged in the 2018 franchise movie Creed II, but a previously unmade spinoff movie tells a much darker story.
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Portrayed by Dolph Lundgren, Drago is the primary villain in Rocky IV. He kills former champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) during his first professional fight and subsequently becomes the pride of Russia because of his extraordinary strength and potential. In a surprise twist, Rocky IV concludes with a Russian audience cheering for Sylvester Stallone’s protagonist, who delivers a climactic speech about world unity that even moves the Soviet Premier, the head of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In Creed II, it’s revealed that Drago left Russia after being disgraced and then re-located to the Ukraine. There, he trained his son, Viktor, who ultimately competes against Apollo Creed’s son, Donnie (Michael B. Jordan).
According to a 2017 report (via Sports Illustrated), however, screenwriter Andrew LeMay once wrote a script for a Drago spinoff movie. The film was thematically inspired by his 2018 novel Red Glove, which explores the relationship between a jailed Cuban boxer and his brother. In LeMay’s franchise update, Drago receives a death sentence after losing to Balboa and spends his days in a Siberian prison. He’s ultimately punished with a 30-year sentence in the proposed Rocky franchise movie, thanks to a deal that his brother orchestrates with the Russian mafia. From there, Drago becomes a jailhouse enforcer, a concept that’s fully believable given the character’s in-ring behavior in Rocky IV.
However, LeMay’s Drago script doesn’t just take place inside a Russian prison, but rather extends to the world of professional boxing (and links to the Creed film series). Lundgren’s character is cleared of all charges and then becomes the ideal opponent to face Mason Dixon, one of the featured fighters in the 2006 film Rocky Balboa. Drago then travels to Las Vegas and competes in the same venue where he killed Apollo Creed decades before. He also learns that his brother will be killed if he doesn’t win the fight. All of the characters in LeMay’s proposed film are owned by MGM, as noted in the SI article.
Unfortunately for LeMay, his screenplay is now irrelevant because of Creed II. However, the Drago family legacy can indeed be further explored in future franchise installments. Whereas LeMay’s proposed storyline involves familial loyalty and honor between two brothers, the current franchise narrative incorporates the same concepts, just between fathers and sons. Given that many modern streamers enjoy nostalgia-themed movies, an Ivan Drago Rocky IV spinoff could definitely still be made.
More: Creed 2’s Russian Dinner Scene Turned Ivan Drago Into A Human Being
- Creed III (2022)Release date: Nov 23, 2022
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