With the myriad TV channels and streaming services out there, getting new content isn't always the easiest thing to do, so sometimes you just have to revive the original Karate Kid franchise for a new TV show with the same actors. Or at least, that's exactly what streaming giant YouTube is doing to bring as much attention as possible to its subscription service YouTube Red, and the sequel series, titled Cobra Kai, will indeed bring back Ralph Macchio and his on screen nemesis William Zabka.
Cobra Kai will be set a full 30 years after the original movie's All Valley Karate Tournament. As an older Daniel LaRusso, Ralph Macchio will be in a different place for the TV show, as he'll be attempting to find a new balance in his life without Mr. Miyagi there to offer him sage wisdom. (R.I.P. Pat Morita.) He'll definitely need some guidance soon, too, as his former foe Johnny Lawrence is having a rough go at life, inspiring him to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo, which then refuels the rivalry Johnny and Daniel had all those years ago. They will hash our their inner turmoil through, you guessed it, karate!
A series that will embrace the comedy, drama and fisticuffs that fans know and love, Cobra Kai's initial season will comprise ten half-hour episodes. Yes, I said comedy, which is getting upgraded here. The show will be crafted by Hot Tub Time Machine writer Josh Heald and the Harold & Kumar franchise creators John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. The latter two will serve as directors for several episodes.
The announcement plays up how the series is picking up after the original film, while the developers themselves call it "a true continuation of the original films." So we'll assume that Daniel's story beyond the first film is still canon, although we can't readily assume that Hilary Swank and Jaden Smith's "Kids" will be referenced. Although Sony Pictures TV is teaming with Will Smith's production company Overbrook Entertainment for it, so maybe Jaden will show up somewhere.
Released in 1984, the original Karate Kid film grossed over $90 million at the box office, and because that kind of money doesn't get ignored, two direct sequels were produced, with The Karate Kid Part II dwarfing its predecessor, while The Karate Kid Part III was a complete bust, bringing in less than $40 million. A decade after the original, a reboot of sorts appeared in the form of Hilary Swank's The Next Karate Kid, with Mr. Miyagi still intact. And everything old was new again in 2010, with the Jaden Smith-Jackie Chan remake, simply titled The Karate Kid. Kudos to all involved with this new project for not using either "karate" or "kid" in the title.
YouTube Red has been gaining ground as a spot for original programming, and its initial launch of web-familiar personalities is advancing with more familiar properties and celebrities. The service also has projects like Step Up: High Water in production, as well as Dan Harmon and the Game Grumps' guys' Good Game, as well as new shows from the hilarious actors Ryan Hansen and Rob Huebel. A Karate Kid series should help to bring in subscribers hungry for nostalgia.
Considering the announcement was just made, a release date for Cobra Kai isn't yet set in stone, but YouTube Red is planning on getting the new comedy-drama out to fans in 2018. In the meantime, check out everything that is confirmed to debut in 2017 with our summer premiere schedule and our fall TV schedule.