- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Rocky Balboa has appeared before the cameras for the last time.

Sylvester Stallone wrote on Instagram on Wednesday that he’s retiring his iconic character after eight movies, dating back to the Oscar-winning underdog smash from 1976.

“I just want to thank everyone around the whole wide world for taking the Rocky family into their hearts for over 40 years,” Mr. Stallone wrote in a caption accompanying a video.

“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,” he wrote.

Rocky currently appears in theaters in “Creed II” in the role of an elderly trainer — more or less the “Mickey” role — to Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed, son of his first great foil, Apollo Creed.

The two “Creed” films have both been huge hits and critically well-received.

In the video, the 72-year-old Stallone is at a nighttime campfire, praises Jordan and directors Ryan Coogler (“Creed”) and Steve Caple Jr. (“Creed II”), and says the franchise in good hands.

“I couldn’t be happier as I step back because my story has been told, there’s a whole new world that’s going to be opening up with the audience, with this generation,” he said, addressing himself to the “Creed” creators. “Now you have to carry the mantle.”

There was some skepticism on social media though.

Film critic Matt Zoller Seitz scoffed on Twitter: “Like Stallone is gonna pass up the opportunity to have Rocky die onscreen? GTFOH! Dude is one of the most shameless sentimentalists in film history. This is a James Brown-style false exit.”

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