Creed (Ludwig Göransson)

After the last outing in 2006, the seemingly-concluded "Rocky" franchise was infused with new life in 2015 with "Creed". Co-written and directed by Ryan Coogler, this sequel/spin-off introduced Adonis "Donnie" Creed, son of Apollo, Rocky Balboa's former rival-turned-friend. Stallone returned to his iconic role, bringing the heart and soul of the franchise and an aging gravitas, while mentoring rising-star Michael B. Jordan's new character and helping Donnie inherit the weight of his father's legacy, while also becoming his own man. The film was a commercial success and received positive critical attention, honoring the heart and formula of the franchise, but offering a new perspective into the story. 

Re-uniting with Coogler (after the respected, but much smaller in scope, "Fruitvale Station"), was Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson. The two became good friends back in film school, and Göransson then went on to explore a career in television scoring (working on the hit shows "Community" and "New Girl"), as well as working as a hip-hop collaborator and producer. This was Göransson's first major blockbuster project, and it instantly established him as someone to watch. For this score, Göransson pays homage to the previous Bill Conti scores (in a few direct quotes of legacy themes, but in a general old-school orchestral style), centering it all on a rousing new anthem for Adonis (one of my favorite themes of the last decade or so), while also applying his hip-hop background to infuse exciting modern new colors unique to Donnie's world. This score defined Ludwig's style--hip, groovy, cleverly layered and experimental hybrid scores, yet rooted in a strong and instantly-memorable melodic base.

There have been multiple releases of music from this film--a song soundtrack album, featuring many of the rap and hip-hop songs used in the film, as well as a hour-long score album by Sony Classical/WaterTower Music. This score album contained a handful of songs that were co-written by Göransson, Tessa Thompson and others that Thompson's character Bianca performs in the film. The biggest issue in the score album was the dreaded inclusion of film dialogue in random tracks--of which I and most score collectors are never a fan. Altogether, the songs and dialogue really killed the flow of the music. Fortunately this was rectified two years later with Mondo's vinyl release of the "Composer's Cut" of the score, removing the songs and dialogue, and adding back in four additional score cues (sadly not released on CD or streaming). I was a big fan of the film, and fell in love with Ludwig's work right away, so it was fun to revisit this artwork--I present a total of six new covers to enjoy.

Cover 1 adapts the central poster. The main poster oddly centers Rocky, leaving Donnie a bit off to the side. I wanted to place them on equal ground, plus I'm usually a fan of symmetry. This meant cloning out the left side to expand that margin (as well as boost saturation on most of these, to give them a bit of pop). Text was relatively simple, I ended up just keeping the same title font consistent for all the text credits.

Covers 2, 3, 4 and 6 are all based off official poster art (with 2 being used in Europe). Most were pretty simple to edit. The usual--find the best available quality, make minor edits where needed, boost saturation, apply text, cutout some heads and apply over such text. 

The only exception was Cover 5, for which I took a still image from the film itself. I like the softer, more atmospheric style of it, in contrast to the more aggressive, black and white look of most of the other posters. And it creates a nice visual link to the Rocky franchise and the Philly connection.

Hope you enjoy, and let me know your favorites. And yes, I plan to complete the trilogy soon!

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