Michael B. Jordan has revealed that Creed III was inspired by two of his favorite anime: Naruto and Dragon Ball. In a conversation with Polygon, Jordan, 36, spoke about the two Shōnen Jump franchises and how they impacted the dynamic and relationship between Adonis Creed and Damian “Diamond Dame” Anderson, played by Jonathan Majors.
“But for me, [the Creed III scene] was about the relationship between two brothers, so the relationship between Naruto and Sasuke was where the inspiration for that relationship kind of stemmed from,” the acclaimed actor expressed.
“The fight between Creed and Damian had to be an even battle, and in an emotionally high place where these two men were both baring their souls to one another. The emotional level they were at, where they were coming at it from, the emotions between those two characters. That was the moment I leaned into that scene from Naruto.”
As the newly anointed director continued detailing what else he implemented from the two properties, he mentioned drawing inspiration from the “void.” The “void” is a destination famously used in the Japanese medium featuring the characters outside of their physical realm, speaking to each other about their emotions, desires, and motives.
“When Sasuke acknowledged that Kurama [the nine-tailed fox] was inside of Naruto and was like, ‘Oh, this is what you’ve got up inside of you? This is what’s inside of you? Nah, we ’bout to shut all that sh*t down.’ They went to that space. I was like, ‘Oh man, that would be dope if I could figure out a way to get these two guys into a void,’ and that’s where [Adonis and Damian] were having their final battle at.”
“It wasn’t about nobody else,” Jordan added. “It wasn’t about anyone else watching the fight. It was about these two dudes who couldn’t emotionally say what they had to say with their words, so they had to physically get it out through fighting. So that idea evolved into revisiting their childhood trauma and making it more like performance art, even.
The California-born actor continued, documenting how Dragon Ball played a role in Adonis’ resiliency and refusal to back down. Michael also spoke about his personal connection to the series’ main character, Son Goku.
“It’s Goku’s resilience. No matter how much pain and struggle he goes through, every battle, a Saiyan only gets stronger. They could even lose, but they’re gonna come back stronger until they eventually beat you. Like, it doesn’t even matter.”
“Even sometimes in death, he’s gonna come back. He comes back all the time, and he’s going to become stronger until he beats you. I think that resilience, that never-give-up attitude, is what I connect with, and I dig that. I think the unassuming nature of Goku, his disarming nature combined with his ability to be ready for whatever happens when his back is against the wall, is really inspiring. He always steps up to whatever challenge.”
Creed III premieres Friday (March 3).