Karate Kid sequel series, Cobra Kai, has been a huge hit for Netflix since becoming available a few weeks ago. Successfully building on the foundations of the beloved 80s movie while maintaining the same endearingly cheesy charm, returning star Ralph Macchio has revealed that it was the change in perspective that ultimately convinced him to revive Daniel-san.
“[Creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg] found an angle into the universe from a different perspective, and they wanted to dive into the gray areas of these characters. And that’s what the big hook was for me.”
Set 34 years after the first The Karate Kid movie, Cobra Kai re-examines the narrative from Daniel’s rival, Johnny Lawrence’s point of view. Now a struggling alcoholic, Johnny decides to reopen the Cobra Kai karate dojo, leading to the rekindling of his old rivalry with Daniel LaRusso. The show has even looked back over the events of the first Karate Kid through Johnny’s eyes, and paints Daniel in a very different light to the squeaky-clean adolescent we all remember him being.
“Karate Kid was very ‘black and white,’ ‘good over evil,’ ‘Daniel-son good, Johnny Lawrence bad,’ ‘Miyagi good, Kreese bad.’ Cobra Kai, each episode, your allegiance may change on who you’re rooting for and why. Diving into those areas and always paying homage to the film, the nostalgia of what The Karate Kid has become in pop culture and cinema was super important, but no less important than making the story fresh for this generation. And that’s what these guys convinced me we could do.”
This examination of gray areas has led to a debate over who is truly the villain of the piece, with both Ralph Macchio and co-star and on-screen rival, William Zabka, both recently offering their two cents. “As far as the ultimate “who’s the bad, who’s the good guy,” I’m way too close to it to make that decision,” Zabka said. “So that really is up to the fans and the viewers and it’s individual to look at it.”
Macchio echoed the same pragmatic approach to the subject saying, “They both are, at times, the bad, and they’re both, at times, the guy you’re rooting for. And that’s why it’s awesome.” Thankfully, their on-screen counter parts are not as mature, with both believing they are the hero of their own story, and more than willing to throw down to prove it.
A third season of the popular series is now on the way, with the recent confirmation that it will not be delayed due to the ongoing global situation. Thankfully, the series was able to wrap production and get everything necessary finished before the entertainment industry was put on indefinite hiatus some months ago. Showrunner Josh Heald said, “Thankfully with season 3, we wrapped production before the end of 2019, and we wrapped post-production… I think there was a little bit of overlap.” He also noted that, “we finished our final mix, the last big piece of post-production in person.”
Cobra Kai sees the return of both Ralph Macchio as Daniel and William Zabka as Johnny. The series also stars Courtney Henggeler, Xolo Maridueña, Tanner Buchanan, Mary Mouser, Jacob Bertrand, Gianni Decenzo, Vanessa Rubio, Peyton List, and Martin Kove. The series was created by Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald. Seasons 1 and 2 of Cobra Kai are now available on Netflix, with the third season due to land on the streaming service sometime in 2021. This comes to us from Vanity Fair’s official YouTube channel.