It is hard to believe, but it has been 30 years since The Karate Kid hit theaters. Three decades ago, fans were treated to the underdog story of Daniel Larusso, played by Macchio, who loved karate and after being bullied by members of a local dojo, started training with his apartment building maintenance man, Mr. Miyagi, played by the late Pat Morita. It ends in a face off between the dojo’s top fighter, Johnny Lawrence, played by William Zabka, in the All Valley Karate Tournament. Now, three decades later, Larusso will appear on the small screen in a sequel to the original Karate Kid trilogy. The show will star both Macchio and Zabka.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, YouTube Red will air the series and has ordered 10 episodes so far. The comedy, expected to run a half hour each episode, is titled Cobra Kai. Over thirty years following the All Valley Karate Tournament, Zabka’s character, Johhny, has fallen on bad times and in an attempt to bounce back, has decided to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo. This will restart the rivalry with Daniel (Macchio), who has become very successful, but is struggling following the death of Mr. Miyagi.
Will Smith, yes, the Fresh Prince, is bringing viewers the series from his Overbrook Entertainment which is based through Sony Pictures Television Studios. Writing and acting as executive producers will be Hard and Kumar’s Hayden Schlossberg, and Hot Tube Time Machine’s Josh Heald. Both Zabka and Macchio are also listed as executive producers of the Cobra Kai television show.
In 1984s The Karate Kid, viewers enjoyed the story of Daniel LaRusso, high-school senior, who moves with his mother to Los Angeles from New Jersey. Almost immediately he ends up in a battle with Johnny, Cobra Kai’s top student. After being saved by his apartment complex’s maintenance man, Mr. Miyagi, Daniel becomes the his student learning not only about karate, but about life. The feud between Danial and Johnny comes to an end at the All Valley Karate Tournament where an injured Daniel defeats Johnny in a spectacular moment. The film spawned two sequels with Morita and Larusso, and a pair of reboots, one with Morita and this time, future Oscar winning actress Hilary Swank, and one staring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. That film, while overall a good story, was criticized for being called The Karate Kid when the martial arts used in the film were kung fu.
Cobra Kai is scheduled to premier on YouTube Red in 2018. There is no word at this time if any of the other cast members of The Karate Kid films will make appearances in the television series or not.
By Cletus Dillwood