When thinking about the ‘80s, there are three actors who immediately come to my mind-Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Carl Weathers. And while Schwarzenegger and Stallone are thankfully still alive and active, we recently lost the magnificent Carl Weathers.
As a movie fan, Carl Weathers’ death depresses me, but as a Black movie fan, it’s especially upsetting. With Andre Braugher’s death still fresh on my mind, Weathers’ death makes for yet another devastating loss.
But, the beauty of film and television is that Carl Weathers’ legacy will live on through his work. So, here are 9 excellent roles from the one and only Carl Weathers.
Apollo Creed (Rocky)
The braggadocious, showboating Apollo Creed from the first Rocky movie is played to perfection by Carl Weathers as we both dislike him for disrespecting our underdog hero, but also admire him for his undeniable charisma.
Sure, in a lot of ways, Apollo Creed in the first film is really just a caricature of Muhammad Ali, but at the same time, he had the kind of depth that would allow him to grow in the sequels.
Apollo Creed (Rocky IV)
Some like to debate whether Rocky III Or Rocky IV is the better Rocky movie, but for my money, it will always be Rocky IV, and it’s because of Carl Weathers’ sterling performance.
Yes, Apollo Creed dies in this film, which is especially hard to watch now given the circumstances. But, the man in this sequel is so far removed from the man in the first Rocky, that it really does make his demise to Ivan Drago hit all the harder.
When ranking the Predator movies, I think most people would agree that the first Predator is the best Predator. Yes, there are a number of reasons why that is the case, but Carl Weathers is definitely one of them.
Throughout the film, we slowly learn his role in just why the men are actually in the jungle in the first place. And in a way, Carl Weathers’ Dillon is very much a sympathetic character, as we’re both kind of against him, but also understanding of why he does just what he does, given his position. Also, you just gotta love that midair arm wrestling scene. My man was seriously JACKED back in the day.
Sergeant Jericho “Action” Jackson (Action Jackson)
Blaxploitation films have seen a bit of a comeback as of late, but they were kind of on the decline by the 1980s. Still, one such movie that tried to keep the subgenre alive was Action Jackson, where Carl Weathers played a detective who got the raw end of a deal, but still got to kick some serious ass all the same.
In a perfect world, Action Jackson would have been the star-powering vehicle that would have propelled Carl Weathers into the stratosphere like his contemporaries, Schwarzenegger and Stallone. But unfortunately, the film just didn’t land with the same impact as something like Commando or First Blood. It’s a shame, too, since Action Jackson, while flawed, is a damn fun time, and it’s mainly because of Carl Weathers’ strait-laced, and yet winking performance.
Chubbs Peterson (Happy Gilmore)
We all knew Carl Weathers was a tough guy, but it took Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore for us to realize that he was also hilarious. In the film, he plays Adam Sandler’s golf coach, who just so happens to also have his hand bitten off by an alligator.
Happy Gilmore is obviously one of Adam Sandler’s best movies, but it can’t be understated just what an impression that Carl Weathers left on the film with his “sturdy” wooden hand and coaching methods. He made another appearance as Chubbs in the film Little Nicky since Chubbs died in Happy Gilmore, and that’s how I choose to think about Carl Weathers right now. Mamboing up in Heaven.
Combat Carl (Toy Story OF TERROR!)
There’s a character named Combat Carl in the original Toy Story movie, and he’s blown up by Sid. But that’s of course not the Combat Carl that I’m referring to here. The Combat Carl that I’m referencing is in the special Toy Story OF TERROR!, where we get both Combat Carl, as well as a smaller version called Combat Carl Jr.
In an undeniable meta reference to Happy Gilmore, Combat Carl had his hand bitten off by an iguana, and he talks in the third person as if he’s the Rock or something. What’s great about this role is that Carl Weathers can play both the tough, military type, but also extremely vulnerable. He also delivers one hell of a PSA about coughing into your shoulder. Because only YOU can prevent spreading germs!
Carl Weathers (Arrested Development)
It’s really interesting how Carl Weathers was able to pivot in his career from being an action hero to somebody who could openly poke fun at himself. And that’s what Carl Weathers did in Arrested Development, where he played Tobias’ acting coach, as well as somebody who was always looking for ways to fill his plate, in more ways than one.
What’s great about this character (which is probably my favorite from Carl Weathers) is that you never feel bad about him like you do Tobias. Even though this silly version of Carl Weathers playing himself is just as down and out as Tobias (even telling Tobias to hold onto his bones to get a “good stew going,” ), we get a sense that he’s a survivor who can make a lot out of a little. Man, the comedic timing on this man was simply impeccable.
Greef Karga (The Mandalorian)
Honestly, even though Greef Karga may be the last live-action role that we’ll ever get to see of Carl Weathers, it’s still one hell of a role to go out on. On the show, which he found “challenging,” Carl Weathers’ character went from being a leader of the Bounty Hunters’ Guild, to a High Magistrate in the course of multiple seasons. And through it all, we got a sense that Carl Weathers was having the time of his life.
Not only did he appear on the show though, he also directed some episodes, namely two of my favorites in “Chapter 12: The Siege,” and “Chapter 20: The Foundling.” In this way, Carl Weathers was an integral part of The Mandalorian. I mean, his character was the reason why Din Djarin even met up with Grogu in the first place, and if that’s not worth something, then I don’t know what is.
Bonus: Jax (Mortal Kombat X DLC)
Lastly, upon compiling this list, I actually never put two and two together, but when you get the DLC outfit for Jax in Mortal Kombat X, it comes with Carl Weathers’ voice, which is fitting since he looked like his counterpart in Predator.
The reason why this is so cool is because Mortal Kombat, especially as of late, has been pulling from a lot of different movies with their DLC, such as Rambo, The Terminator, and RoboCop. So, to sort of have Carl Weathers’ character from Predator as a version of Jax is just plain cool. And I’ll definitely be picking him from now on whenever I go back to playing Mortal Kombat X, which I do every so often.
Carl Weathers will forever be legendary, and for that reason, he’ll never be forgotten. Rest easy, Mr. Weathers. And remember, it’s all in the hips.