Karate Kid stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka are back together, and looking a lot more friendly than they used to, in a new behind-the-scenes image from the set of Cobra Kai. YouTube Red ordered up the Karate Kid sequel series starring Macchio and Zabka as older versions of Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence, the characters they originated way back in 1984.
Kids of the '80s fell in love with The Karate Kid, an underdog story in the vein of Rocky and actually made by Rocky director John G. Avildsen, when it first hit theaters. Macchio was relatable and charming as a kid living with a single mom and having a hard time adjusting to his new life in California, who found himself being bullied by the karate-fighting kids at his school led by the eminently punchable Zabka, and took it upon himself to fight back by learning the ways of martial arts under karate master janitor Mr. Miyagi (Oscar-nominee Pat Morita). The Karate Kid ended in one of movie history's most unabashedly triumphant moments as Daniel-San crane-kicked Johnny to win the big karate tournament, capturing America's hearts in the process. Two sequels followed, and years later The Karate Kid was revived in a film starring Jaden Smith (which was followed by zero sequels).
More than three decades after The Karate Kid first introduced wax-on/wax-off to the lexicon, YouTube Red is bringing Daniel and Johnny back through the revival series Cobra Kai. EW shared a first look at Cobra Kai via a behind-the-scenes image of stars Macchio and Zabka on the set, sharing a light-hearted moment before getting down to work.
#KarateKid stars #RalphMacchio and #WilliamZabka are back together again! ??In this exclusive behind-the-scenes photo, the pair are all smiles as they reunite on the Atlanta set of 'Cobra Kai,' #YouTube Red’s forthcoming sequel series to the 1984 film. The show will see Macchio and Zabka reprising their iconic roles. Click the link in our bio for more details. ?: Mark Hill
Cobra Kai (named after the dojo where Johnny Lawrence first learned the ways of karate from his slimy sensei Kreese) will reportedly pick up the story of Daniel LaRusso as a successful businessman and family man decades removed from his days as a karate kid. Unlike Daniel, Johnny's life has not gone in a particularly positive direction, and when we pick up his story, he's cleaning septic tanks and occasionally being mistaken for a homeless person. Johnny's big dream is to bring back the Cobra Kai school (the poor guy apparently peaked before his 20s), but his only student is a store clerk named Miguel who, like Daniel before him, is being tormented by bullies.
Daniel and Johnny re-enter each other's lives due to one of those wild twists of fate that can only happen in works of fiction: It turns out Miguel's tormentor is a wrestler named Kyler who happens to also be dating Daniel's daughter Samantha. This can take us in one of two directions: Either Daniel turns out to be the villain of the piece, a real twist indeed, or he remembers his own past as a bullied kid and joins up with his old enemy Johnny to bring the Cobra Kai school back to life.
Recapturing the magic is always tricky for these revivals of well-remembered films and TV shows of the past. How do you strike a balance between delivering all the nostalgia while still crafting a story that feels fresh and vital? How true do you remain to the spirit of the original? Does the material even still work in a world that has changed a lot since the original was in theaters or on the air? Cobra Kai can bring back Daniel and Johnny, and move their stories in interesting new directions - and maybe even make us not want to punch Zabka in the nose anymore - but it likely will have a hard time conjuring up the same combination of heartfelt characterization and exhilarating underdog story payoff that made the first Karate Kid so memorable.