Creed III marks a major turning point in the series. For the first time since 1976, there’s a Rocky or Creed movie without an appearance from Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa. Rocky rode off into the proverbial sunset at the end of Creed II, symbolically passing the torch to Michael B. Jordan as the new lead of the saga.

But just because Stallone and Rocky do not appear onscreen in Creed III doesn’t mean that Creed III isn’t indebted, in ways both big and small, to the almost 50-year history of the Rocky franchise. Just like Creed II before it, Creed III is clearly made by Rocky fans for Rocky fans, and as such it features tons of references and Easter eggs from Rockys (and Creeds) past. Old storylines are repeated, vintage characters return for important supporting roles, and even a few locations get trotted out again — like the beaches of Southern California, where Rocky rediscovered the “eye of the tiger” in Rocky III and Jonathan Majors’ Dame Anderson prepares for his big fight with Adonis Creed in Creed III.

That’s one obvious homage to Rockys past — but here are 12 more examples from Creed III, some of which are not so easy to spot.

Rocky References in Creed III

Few franchises are more obsessed with their own past as the Rocky/Creed saga. Here is the proof, from Creed III.
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