Sylvester Stallone has hit out at Rocky producer Irwin Winkler, his sons and actor Dolph Lundgren for their involvement in a spin-off film based on the character Ivan Drago.

Stallone took to Instagram on Saturday to express his opposition to the planned film that will centre on Soviet boxer Drago, who first appeared as a rival of Rocky Balboa in the 1985 film Rocky IV.

Responding to a report from The Wrap that claimed Robert Lawton had been brought on to write the screenplay for the spin-off, Stallone called Winkler “pathetic” and labelled his sons Charles and David “moronic vulture children”.

Stallone has hit out out Rocky producer Irwin Winkler over the planned Ivan Drago spin-off film (Image: Alamy)Sharing photos of The Wrap story and also a headline from November 2021 when Lundgren had teased the possibility of a Drago spin-off, Stallone wrote: “Another Heartbreaker… Just found this out…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.

“I APOLOGIZE to the FANS, I never wanted ROCKY characters to be exploited by these parasites.

“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 further distanced himself from the spin-off with a second post on Instagram the following day, posting photos that portrayed Winkler as a blood-sucking vampire and another illustration that showed the producer and his sons stabbing Stallone in the back.

He also shared photos of his Rocky character punching Drago, alongside the caption: “After IRWIN WINKLER And FAMILY SUCK ROCKY DRY! Presumed to be the most hated, untalented, decrepited (sic), Producer in Hollywood and his cowardly children have found their next meal… Drago?

“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 work.. #parasite producers #exploited artists victims.”

Stallone wrote and starred in the first Rocky film, which was directed by John G. Alvidsen and released in 1976.

The film would go on to win Best Picture at the Oscars the following year.

Stallone would later write, direct and star in Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1989), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990) and Rocky Balboa (2006).

He also starred in and produced the 2015 spin-off Creed, directed by Ryan Coogler, and its 2018 sequel Creed II, directed by Steven Caple Jr.

Stallone is also attached to produce Creed III, which will be directed by Michael B. Jordan in his feature directorial debut and is planned for release in 2023.

It is set to be the first Rocky film in which Stallone will not play his iconic character.