The last Rocky movie, 2006’s Rocky Balboa, turned out about as well as humanly possible for a story about a former heavyweight champ getting back into the ring at the age of 60. That Rocky Balboa was watchable at all was a credit to Sylvester Stallone’s skills as a director, writer, and star, and to the enduring appeal of the Rocky character. It was a triumph of strong execution over a weak premise.

Unlike Rocky Balboa, the premise of the next film in the franchise, the upcoming Creed, sounds terrific. Stallone and Rocky finally accept the Mickey role of the grizzled coach, mentoring a new underdog in the form of the son of former champ (and late friend of Rocky) Apollo Creed. He’s played by Fruitvale Station and Fantastic Four’s Michael B. Jordan.

Creed just started shooting in Philadelphia earlier this year, and is scheduled for release this coming November. It was already an intriguing project, but this full synopsis, via Badass Digest, makes it even more interesting:

Adonis Johnson (Jordan) never knew his famous father, world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, who died before he was born. Still, there’s no denying that boxing is in his blood, so Adonis heads to Philadelphia, the site of Apollo Creed’s legendary match with a tough upstart named Rocky Balboa.

Once in the City of Brotherly Love, Adonis tracks Rocky (Stallone) down and asks him to be his trainer. Despite his insistence that he is out of the fight game for good, Rocky sees in Adonis the strength and determination he had known in Apollo — the fierce rival who became his closest friend. Agreeing to take him on, Rocky trains the young fighter, even as the former champ is battling an opponent more deadly than any he faced in the ring.

With Rocky in his corner, it isn’t long before Adonis gets his own shot at the title ... but can he develop not only the drive but also the heart of a true fighter, in time to get into the ring?

The very strong suggestion is that Rocky will be stricken with a potentially fatal disease. My first thought is it could be the return of a dangling thread from Rocky V, where Balboa was diagnosed with brain damage and ordered to retire. Little was made of his trauma in that movie, and it was barely even addressed in Rocky Balboa, where the Italian Stallion seems to have maintained all of his marbles and most of his physical skills. Given the increasing focus on concussions in contact sports, CTE could be a very dramatic and timely subplot. We’ll find out for sure on November 25, when Creed opens in theaters.