Michael B. Jordan's Adonis Creed prepares for another bout in the boxing ring in the newest photos from Creed II. After laying dormant for nearly 10 years, the Rocky franchise was brought back by director Ryan Coogler, who helmed the first Creed film. The spinoff was arguably the series' most successful all-around installment since the Best Picture-winning original, earning widespread critical praise and $173.5 million at the worldwide box office in 2015. Unsurprisingly, a sequel was green lit.

Though Steven Caple, Jr. called the shots on the sequel (Coogler was busy with Black Panther at the time), it looks like Creed II is cut very much from the same cloth as its predecessor. The first trailer, released earlier this summer, teased another hard-hitting, gritty story where Adonis is faced with one of his toughest challenges yet: battling the son of Ivan Drago. The film is still a few months away from reaching theaters, but marketing continues to heat up with the release of two new images.

MGM and Warner Bros. unveiled the official stills, which you can see in the space below. In the first, Adonis trains with Rocky Balboa in the gym, hitting a punching bag. The second sees Adonis walking to the ring before another fight.

What's interesting about the latter is that Rocky is nowhere to be seen. Instead, Adonis is accompanied by Tony 'Little Duke' Burton, who briefly appeared in the last film. While Balboa could be somewhere off camera, this suggests Creed has a new trainer this time around. As seen in the teaser, Rocky doesn't necessarily agree with Adonis' wish to take on Viktor Drago. Balboa recognizes Adonis' stubbornness as the same mentality that ended up getting Apollo killed, so he may not wish to take part in this. There's also the possibility Rocky's health issues resurface in Creed II, and he is unable to help Adonis as he recovers. Time will tell.

The first Creed was hailed as a triumphant return to form for a property that had gotten increasingly campy throughout the 1980s. Hopefully, the sequel will prove to be a worthy followup. On-paper, Adonis fighting against the son of Drago reads as the easiest route for Creed II to go, raising concerns that the creative team is making a mistake with the premise. However, Creed was one of the most pleasant surprises in 2015 thanks to its thrilling boxing sequences and Stallone's Oscar nominated performance as an older Rocky. There's a chance Caple, Jr. has delivered something that's equally strong and will prove the naysayers wrong this fall.

Release Date:

. Creed 2 (2018) release date: Nov 21, 2018