Coogler will be wrapped up bringing Marvel's Black Panther to the big screen. That's a huge deal. An amazing gig to score for any filmmaker, especially a black filmmaker. But I think we're all hoping that even if Coogler can't direct Creed 2 that he'll still have some kind of hand in the sequel, producing or maybe being a co-writer on the script. Something along those lines.
Which brings me to indie filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry. You may, or may not, be familiar with his work. Cherry is a former pro NFL player turned filmmaker. He's directed several music videos, and his feature film debut The Last Fall premiered at SXSW and starred Lance Gross and Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow).
The Last Fall is one of the best "sports dramas" I've seen because it deals with an athlete's life after the spotlight. It explores the "dark side" of professional football, the under-belly, and paints a wonderful picture of the self-doubt and angst that is rarely associated with elite athletes. In The Last Fall we get to see the man behind the game day jersey, and get a glimpse of his vulnerability. It's a solid and poignant tale. The Last Fall offers the kind of moody "Subtle Core" heartbeat that made Creed and Rocky so good. The beautiful thing about Rocky films (and Creed) was what happened outside of the ring, what made these men, these characters, worthy of the fight. Cherry's work with The Last Fall is an impressive example of how he could expand upon the layered depth of Adonis, and Rocky. Coogler got two Oscar-worthy performances from Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone. They were at the top of their acting game.
What becomes of Adonis now that he's become a "star" in the boxing world? How does he deal with the fame? Will the fame re-shape his relationship with Bianca (Tessa Thompson)? These are the kind of questions that I hope Creed 2 covers, and these are all things that Cherry has shown the range to skillfully craft.
I'm not saying that Matthew A. Cherry is the only director that should be in the running to direct Creed 2. But Cherry should definitely be a serious contender.