In the climax of Rocky IV, an uppercut by Rocky Balboa left Ivan Drago on the canvas after 15 rounds of fighting. Unable to respond to the referee's count, Drago was handed a loss by knockout in front a crowd that heavily favored him. What happened next to Drago has been a question left to the imagination of Rocky fanatics for decades.
An answer may be imminent as Sylvester Stallone recently teased a possible return of Drago with an Instagram post that featured Dolph Lundgren and Michael B. Johnson's Adonis Creed character.
”Here's a chance to stretch your imagination..." the caption read. "HISTORY WILL ALWAYS REPEAT ITSELF IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER, JUST GOT TO BE READY!"
Creed, which follows the boxing career of Apollo Creed's son, was released in December 2015 and quickly picked up for a reported trilogy. The sequel could have Creed's son avenging his father's death from the Rocky IV film, where Drago fought and killed Creed.
Another film with Drago would answer many of the questions regarding what happened in the Soviet star's life after the ring.
More than three million people may have searched Ivan Drago's name into YouTube for fight highlights from Rocky IV or to catch one of his nine speaking lines. Among the top results is a 2010 video titled, "Ivan Drago after have lost to Rocky." The uploader captions the video with "Ivan Drago is mad over the loss." Another video with a similar title boasts "this is a deleted scene" from Rocky IV and even has the Youtube ad for the whole movie underneath.
In the scene, Lundgren goes into a drunken rage and breaks a man's nose with one punch. It's easy to think that is Drago struggling with the loss. The problem is that it is not a scene from Rocky IV but from 1998 action film Red Scorpion, where Lundgren plays a Soviet Spetsnaz operative. Hopefully millions of people scroll far enough into the comments section to learn that.
Rocky: The Ultimate Guide is considered the holy grail of Rocky books to accompany the movies. According to the Rocky Wikia page, the guide says that Drago was unable to fight after his loss to Balboa due to the USSR's restrictions on turning professional. After the Soviet Union falls, Drago goes on to post a 14–1 record with every victory being a knockout. He never fought for a major title or competed against any other top boxers due to promotional politics.
There was also a 1989 book released on Drago by Todd Noy. In the book, Drago is disgraced and disowned by his country before relocating to the U.S. The USSR is apparently not too happy with his return to the ring and send another likely performance-enhanced boxer to destroy him. As for Rocky, the book says that he retires after the Drago fight and Clubber Lang (Mr. T's character from Rocky III) is the reigning champ.
Returning to the Role
After Rocky IV, Lundgren and Stallone have worked together on three Expendables films together. The two remain friends and Lundgren was in attendance at the premiere of Creed.
In early 2015, Lundgren was interviewed by Chris Nashawaty for Sports Illustrated's "Where are They Now" issue and was asked whether he would reprise his role from the Rocky series.
"I don't think I'd play Ivan Drago again. I want to let that character rest. People have good memories of that film, and I'd hate to mess that up."
According to his IMDB page, he has three films slated for 2018 including the role of King Nereus in Aquaman.
Screenwriter Andrew LeMay did an interview with the "Boxing With The Truth" blog has written a screenplay and said he's discussed the idea with people tied to the Rocky series. A synopsis of the screenplay was shared with SI. The characters in the proposed Drago movie are owned by MGM. LeMay adapted the Drago film from his original screenplay titledRed Glove.
In LeMay's script, Drago's punishment for losing to Balboa in 1985 is death. Before Drago is locked up in a Siberian prison, his brother, who apparently has ties to the mafia, strikes a deal to save Drago's life and just spends the next 30 years in jail. Drago is described as "GI Joe but for Russia" by LeMay. The brother runs the show while Drago takes on the role of an enforcer that beats up anyone who disagrees with Drago's brother. The warden wants to take back his prison so he hires a bigger and stronger enforcer to fight Drago. In the "Boxing with the Truth" interview, Nikolai Valuev, the former two-time WBA heavyweight champion, was mentioned as a potential casting option. LeMay says he got in contact with Valuev's camp and the boxer said he wanted to see himself in more of a positive light in the film.
In the spin-off, Balboa is well-retired and Mason Dixon, the young Floyd Mayweather-eque opponent who wins in Rocky Balboa, seeks another money-making fight. Ivan Drago is the perfect candidate. Drago makes it out of jail and is cleared of all charges. He is reunited with his wife and is brought back to health before resuming his boxing training. Drago leaves Russia and is set to fight Dixon in the same venue, where he killed Apollo Creed 30 years earlier.
Before the fight, Drago learns that if he loses, his brother in Siberia, would be killed. Drago learns about his brother's deal to save him after the post-Balboa loss and is inspired to win. The fight pits Dixons speed and agility against Drago's super human strength.
LeMay ends his interview asking for listeners to tweet at Stallone to make his screenplay into a reality.