It has been over three decades since Karate Kid ended with a victorious crane kick, and the movie has developed a cult-like following. Now, the story of teenagers learning martial arts in Southern California is about to make a glorious return on YouTube Red in the form of Cobra Kai. A new trailer for the upcoming sequel/reboot series has just hit the web, and it approaches the Karate Kid mythos from a very different perspective by making Daniel LaRusso look like the villain of the show. Check out the trailer, below.
Some rivalries never die, and that's something that Cobra Kai seems keen on exploring. Showing Johnny (William Zabka) living his life in the shadow of the success of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), he eventually regains his sense of purpose when he re-opens the Cobra Kai gym and begins training a new generation of fighters. That doesn't go over well with Daniel (who clearly remembers being victimized by the karate kids of his own generation), and he begins to train for a showdown with his longtime enemy.
Right off the bat, the most apparent thing to note about this trailer for Cobra Kai is the fact that it seems to tell the Karate Kid story from a very different perspective. Johnny is the primary focus of this preview, and we get the sense that his life hasn't gone very well since the events of the original movie -- even if he can still kick some serious teenage ass. In fact, not only does Johnny come across as far more sympathetic and likable than he ever did in the original movie, but Daniel LaRusso now arguably seems like a legitimate antagonist from a certain point of view.
Although it's a surprising turn of events, there's also some precedent for Cobra Kai to try and make Johnny a more likable character. At the end of Karate Kid, he made sure to congratulate Daniel on his victory in the tournament, and the franchise has generally framed Martin Kove's sensei John Kreese as the real bad guy of the movie. Now, three and a half decades later, Cobra Kai is expanding that idea to continue focusing on Johnny's sympathetic qualities.
With all of that said, something tells us that Daniel won't actually be the full-blown villain. The character has become beloved by fans of the franchise, and the more likely scenario is that the show will merely give both characters a solid point of view regarding how to train this new generation of teenagers. Johnny's method is more intense and combat oriented, while Daniel's is more meditative and reminiscent of the late Mr. Miyagi.
Cobra Kai will debut on YouTube Red later this spring on May 2. Make sure to stay tuned for more awesome updates and coverage related to the upcoming show and take a look at our midseason premiere guide to stay in-the-loop on all of the spring debuts that are right around the corner. In the world of streaming content, you can also listen to the most recent episode of The Cord Cutter Podcast!