‘Creed 3’ Character: Adonis Creed, Explained: Who Is Adonis ‘Donnie’ Johnson Creed?

After “Creed 3,” we have some knowledge of what the past had looked like for Adonis “Donnie” Johnson Creed before he met Mary Anne Creed. A nameless boy in group homes, Creed learned to look after himself with his friend Dame, the original boxer. Living in awful conditions led to Creed resorting to violence, and emotions began taking a back seat in his life. After such a life, he lived a life of privilege with his stepmother, Mary Anne. She told him about his father and how he reminded her of him. Although we found out in “Creed 3” that Donnie never felt welcomed by Mary Anne’s children, he lived a wonderful life with her. In “Creed,” we see Donnie move on from a perfectly settled life with a white-collar job to the life of a champion.


What we realize by the end of “Creed” is that Donnie always wanted to prove that he was not a mistake. He believed the only way he could prove his worth was through boxing. Although he received a lot of love from Mary Anne herself, he was keen on delivering in his father’s name. Across the three films, we see that Donnie has accepted Mary Anne as his mother, even with the difficult circumstances of their union. When Mary Anne dies, she makes it very clear that it is Adonis who saved her from decline after Apollo’s death.

Adonis found a father figure in Rocky. Not only was he the only man who’d treated him well in all these years, but he was also a boxer like his father. Rocky and Apollo’s relationship, of course, helped strengthen Adonis’ relationship with Rocky too. After becoming acquainted with Rocky, Adonis didn’t just get stronger physically for the fight, but he also grew as a person with the help of the trainer’s guidance. Although it seems like a simple rags-to-riches concept, Donnie happens to have a lot of emotional baggage, which directs him and motivates him to become a champion. When Rocky realizes he has cancer, Adonis is the one who takes care of him and teaches him how to fight again. Adonis can’t let go of him so soon and really loves his “unc.” 


Donnie finds Bianca in his building when he moves to Philadelphia for the first time, and he likes her immediately. He feels attracted to her because she’s as passionate about her music as he is about his boxing. Although Bianca and Donnie make an excellent match, it is hard for B to break down his walls after all these years of keeping everything to himself. Donnie doesn’t know how to express his emotions outside of boxing. In the third film, he tells her that emotions come easily to her, but she says no, they don’t. Bianca, too, is facing her own troubles with losing her hearing and not being able to perform again. Donnie also has a fear of not being able to be there for his daughter. After fighting Drago, he creates a legacy of his own and chooses family life. Yes, in “Creed 3,” he fights his childhood friend so that he can close an old chapter, but he does it for himself and no one else. Through the match, Donnie wants to let go of everything dark in his past. Donnie lives a wholesome family life with his wife and daughter, Amara. He is always there for his daughter and tries to understand her, giving her secret training without Bianca knowing.

Donnie is a persuasive man. For the longest time, Creed took on his biological name, “Johnson,” because he was afraid of ruining his father’s legacy. With Bianca’s encouragement, he reluctantly manages to take it on at first. When Rocky says no to helping him train, he shows up in his face all the time. He doesn’t give up easily, or rather, at all. Donnie is always up for a challenge, and when his friend Dame returns after 18 years, he wants to build the lost friendship and be there for a ‘lost’ friend. Unfortunately for him, Dame isn’t as forgiving as Donnie. Dame is petty because he believes Donnie got to live the life that was supposed to be rightfully his.


Donnie’s internal battle is finally resolved after all these years through the fight with Dame. It is almost as if he fought the man shadowing his father to finally come to his own. To be the son of the greatest fighter possible is, of course, a massive burden; if Donnie were a legitimate child, he might never have chosen the path of boxing, although he chooses violence. He is a good-natured man whose intention is to simultaneously live up to his father’s name and become the greatest he can be. “Your opponent is always the man who is staring back at you from the mirror.”

Creed is an underdog who gets an opportunity because of his name. At first, he hated the name because it meant there were unimaginable expectations from him. When people called him ‘baby Creed,” he blew his top. After finding his pace, though, he realizes all he wanted to do was meet those expectations. He was always afraid of being labeled a ‘mistake.’ Donnie has no real reason to fight after Mary Anne takes him in. Fighters are always there because they have to be; that’s what we’ve learned through the years. Donnie, on the other hand, is educated, has had a great upbringing, and can live a decent life. Rocky notices this, too, when he first approaches him, but it is Donnie’s hard work that encourages Rocky to help him take on the gloves, not his name or father.


In “Creed 3,” Donnie’s life does a 180. He is able to let go of the past, embrace the present, and then also look to the future in a new light. Although Mary Anne isn’t going to be with him, or, as a matter of fact, his boxing, he has Amara and Bianca to look after, so the family is his new and final goal. With another Creed on the way, it’s going to be interesting to see where the journey of this character is going to take us. The third installment could’ve easily been an emotional ending to the saga, but it looks like many plans are in the works.

See more: ‘Creed 3’ Ending, Explained: Will Donnie And Dame Be Able To Reconcile? What To Expect From ‘Creed 4’?

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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