The first trailer for YouTube's Karate Kid sequel series Cobra Kai has been released. It has been 34 years since The Karate Kid was first in theaters. The underdog sports movie was popularized by Rocky less than a decade earlier, but The Karate Kid stood out among them. While there were three direct sequels to the film, plus a remake in 2010 and an animated series, the original rivalry from the first movie between new kid Daniel LaRusso and school bully Johnny Lawrence has not been revisited before.
But that rivalry will be revisited now in Cobra Kai. The series, which will air on YouTube Red, shows where Johnny and Daniel are in their lives as adults as Johnny tries to reopen the Cobra Kai karate school. The return of Cobra Kai awakens old feelings in both of them, feelings that are most likely escalated by Daniel's daughter dating a bully named Kyler - who is much like Johnny used to be - and Johnny trying to teach a student being bullied by Kyler, mirroring Daniel. Played by original actors Ralph Macchio and William Zabka the two men find themselves now on opposite sides of a very familiar situation.
Now YouTube has released the first trailer for Cobra Kai on the show's channel, and it focuses largely on Johnny's attempts to clean up and reopen the Dojo. Both Johnny and Daniel's voices can be heard in dueling narration, with Daniel very much against Cobra Kai reopening and Johnny echoing the harsh and cruel teachings of Kreese - his teacher from the original film. "Strike First. Strike Hard. No Mercy." In the final moments of the trailer Daniel and Johnny face off, much like they did 34 years ago.
Johnny Lawrence has not been seen on screen since the opening scene of The Karate Kid Part II, when Daniel's teacher Mr. Miyagi saved him from a beating by Kreese as punishment for losing to Daniel. Johnny and his friends walked away from Kreese after that, so hearing and seeing him as an adult bringing back the same school and same ideals that were so abusive to him as a child is jarring. Meanwhile, as adults both Johnny and Daniel are living the lives we assume that bullies and kind-hearted underdogs get to live - Daniel is a business man with success and a family while Johnny cleans septic tanks and is mistaken for homeless. But with some of the story potentially being told from Johnny's perspective for the first time and Daniel's daughter dating the school bully, it's no longer clear who is the good guy and who is the bad guy in this rivalry. Or if such lines can be drawn at all.
This is not the first attempt to restart the Cobra Kai school. The Karate Kid III was largely about Kreese and some of his pals trying to do exactly that, only to be stopped by Daniel once more beating the school's fighter in a tournament. This time, the question is not how to stop the school from reopening - but whether Johnny and Cobra Kai should be stopped at all.
Cobra Kai premieres on YouTube Red in 2018.
Source: Cobra Kai