Mike Marsland/WireImage, Albert L. Ortega/Getty
Sylvester Stallone isn’t backing down from this fight.
The Golden Globe winner, 76, made his feelings known about the recently-announced Drago spinoff of his Rocky franchise in an Instagram post on Saturday, as he publicly criticized returning producer Irvin Winkler and his longtime friend and former costar Dolph Lundgren.
Sharing screenshots of the announcement on Instagram, Stallone called the news “another heartbreaker” amid his ongoing battle for rights to the franchise.
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“ONCE AGAIN, IRWIN WINKLER, this PATHETIC 94 year old PRODUCER and HIS MORONIC VULTURE CHILDREN, Charles And David, are once again picking clean THE BONES of another wonderful character I created without even telling me…” he wrote in the caption.
“I APOLOGIZE to the FANS, I never wanted ROCKY characters to be exploited by these parasites…” Stallone continued. “By the way, I once had nothing but respect for Dolph but he NEVER told me about what was going on behind my back with the character I created for him!!! REAL FRIENDS Are more precious than gold.”
Stallone followed it up with another post, this time featuring photoshopped images of a vampiric Winkler sucking Rocky’s blood and stabbing him in the back.
“After IRWIN WINKLER And FAMILY SUCK ROCKY DRY!” he wrote. “Presumed to be the most hated, untalented, decrepited [sic], Producer in Hollywood and his cowardly children have found their next meal… Drago, RETURN MY RIGHTS BLOODSUCKERS!”
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“Throughout history so many artists in every industry, recording, painting writing, you name it have been destroyed by these blood suckers Who have destroyed so many families, lining their pockets with other people! DOLPH, why? Not a phone call? #parasite producers #exploited artists victims,” Stallone added.
Reps for Winkler and Lundgren did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection
In an article from The Wrap this week, Lundgren, 64, was announced to reprise his role as Russian boxer Ivan Drago in the upcoming spinoff. He previously teased the possibility last year to The Hollywood Reporter.
Lundgren originated the role in 1985’s Rocky IV, before returning in 2018 for Creed II. The latest installment saw his character help son Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu) prepare to fight Adonis “Donnie” Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the son of the late Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), whom Ivan infamously killed during their match in Rocky IV.
Stallone has previously fought for his rights to the character and story he created, revealing to Variety in 2019 that he has “zero ownership” of the franchise. He noted that he was “very angry” and “furious” he wouldn’t be able to leave any equity stake to his children, but he also regretted not pushing hard enough when negotiating the deal for the original movie.
“You don’t want to ruffle the feathers of the golden goose,” Stallone said at the time.
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Earlier this month, the actor called out Winkler, 91, who has produced every movie in the Rocky franchise, in a since-deleted post that featured the producer’s head on a snake’s body. “I really would like have at least a little WHAT’s LEFT of my RIGHTS back, before passing it on to ONLY YOUR CHILDREN,” Stallone wrote.
He earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his debut in 1976’s Rocky, for both Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay. The movie also won the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editing.
Rocky has since spawned five direct sequels that premiered from 1979 to 2006, as well as three Creed spinoff movies — with the next installment set to premiere March 3, 2023. Stallone earned another Oscar nomination and his first Golden Globe Award for his return in 2015’s Creed.
Stallone has also teased a new Rocky film in recent years.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism