Spoilers for Creed II ahead. Creed II, obviously, is a sequel to 2015's Creed. But, it's also a sequel to Rocky IV, in which Rocky defeated Soviet boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) after Ivan's fight with Rocky's friend Apollo Creed left Apollo dead. In Creed II, Apollo's son, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), fights Ivan's son, Viktor (Florian Munteanu), but Ivan isn't the only character from Rocky IV to return for this follow-up. Ivan's wife, Ludmilla Drago, is also in Creed II, which makes for a somewhat surprising cameo from Brigitte Nielsen.
Ludmilla is memorable from Rocky IV for being a spokesperson for Ivan and for being generally evil and proud of her husband for beating someone to death. She also was very '80s and had a thing for boxy blazers.
Well, in the time between the movies, Ludmilla and Ivan had a son, but then split up. Creed II explains that basically the entire Soviet Union was disappointed in Ivan after his fight with Rocky, including his wife, who later left him and Viktor behind. In turn, Ivan has put everything into making Viktor into the best boxer he can be, his motivation being to regain his own pride and the respect of Ludmilla. Of course, this being Ivan Drago, he really goes to extremes and when his son is starting to do poorly during a fight, he tells him, "That's why she left us." Which, in a sense, is true, but not in quite so direct a way. Also, damn dude, that's your kid.
In the new movie, Ludmilla shows up at Viktor's fights against Adonis and at a dinner held in Viktor's honor after his initial win against him. And she still has her same look from Rocky IV with her icy stare and strong shouldered jackets. In the end, though, Ivan and Viktor don't win over their ex-wife and mother, but the takeaway for them is what they learned along the way. Really!
There had been rumors that Nielsen, who herself is Sylvester Stallone's ex-wife, was going to pop up in Creed II, but they were not confirmed before reviews of the film started rolling in. In October, the Blast reported that they were told that while Nielsen had filmed parts for the movie, it was unclear whether they would end up making the final cut. Before that, in April, Screen Rant had reported that Nielsen was said to have been spotted in Philadelphia where the movie was filming, but that things were far from confirmed as to whether she'd be making an appearance. Up until a few days before the movie's release, Nielsen was not even listed on the film's IMDb page, but she's there now, and she also attended the New York premiere.
Along with Nielsen reprising her role, Dolph Lundgren also returns 33 years later as Ivan. And, of course, Rocky is back, too, as Adonis' mentor, father figure, and person who is understandably very worried about seeing history repeat itself.
If you've seen Rocky IV, Creed II's look at Ludmilla is fun to see, but its take on Ivan Drago switches things up from the original and is more in depth. And, if you haven't seen Rocky IV, then now you know what the deal is with the very blonde lady in the tailored suits.