After the release of the original Karate Kid, 33 years ago, martial arts took off in America. The eastern fighting arts captivated the American public. The sequels to the Karate Kid, though, and later reboots, did not. Yet the never-give-up attitude of the film has inspired one more sequel, and this one stars some of the original cast.
Cobra Kai, will be a a 10-episode half-hour series for YouTube Red. It is set to air in 2018. The Sony Pictures Television Studios and Overbrook Entertainment series will pair Ralph Macchio (who is now 55) and William Zabka (now 51) in their original roles.
Part of the charm, if not all of it, relied on the baby-faced character played by Macchio. His Daniel LaRusso was bullied by William Zabka’s Johnny. LaRusso and Johnny square off in the iconic final battle.
The other magical element of the first film was the on-screen charisma of Pat Morita who played Keisuke Miyagi. Morita died in 2005, at the age of 73. Cobra Kai will deal with Miyagi’s death in the plot.
Mr. Miyagi originally taught the art of self-defense by instructing LaRusso in a series of chores. Wax on, wax off. The quirky life lessons build in a cumulative fashion, allowing LaRusso to make a dramatic, albeit cinematic, final victory.
The new series, according to the Daily Mail, looks at the life of LaRusso as an adult, without the wisdom of his missing mentor. It will pick up on the old tensions between the two characters, and will include a healthy dose of the expected martial arts instruction and fighting. Johnny, as would be expected, has reopened the evil Cobra Kai dojo. No word yet on who might play the role of the cherubic ass-kicker.
“Continuing the story of The Karate Kid has been a passion project for all of us, and when Ralph and Billy said yes, we knew it had become real,” writes Glenn Adilman, EVP Comedy Development, Sony Pictures Television Studios.
“We are thrilled that YouTube Red felt the same thing the minute they heard the pitch and then stepped up with this series commitment.”