Cobra Kai is about to get a new lease on life thanks to Netflix, and its future could include a ton of characters from the Karate Kid movies. At least, that is what the series’ co-creator has to say, and it is not hard to imagine. Ever since the show began, it has found ways to honor the legacy of Mr. Miyagi.
Nostalgia is never too far from the heart of Cobra Kai, a television sequel to the events of the Karate Kid movie franchise. William Zabka and Ralph Macchio both star in the series, reprising their roles as Johnny and Daniel, respectively. How many other Karate Kid stars could join them? The dojo's door is apparently wide open, with Cobra Kai co-creator Jon Hurwitz telling this to CBR:
Any character who has lived within this Miyagi-Verse has potential to show up at some point on Cobra Kai and I can say that the three of us, as writers, have literally discussed pretty much every person who has appeared in those films, from these large characters you're talking about, like the Terry Silvers of the world, to the most minor characters who had one or two lines.
For those who would love to see even more familiar faces populate the cast of Cobra Kai, this is undoubtedly welcome news. But those actors who wish to reprise their roles from the Karate Kid movies will have to get used to using some saltier language than they did in the films. Ralph Maccio and William Zabka have handled it okay.
Before you start trying to figure out which Karate Kid characters you want to see next, take note that while Cobra Kai is all about feeding the nostalgia that helped bring the series to life, the creators do not wish to feature unnecessary comebacks just for kicks. There is fan-service, and then there is plot service. To that end, Cobra Kai’s Jon Hurwitz said:
We view that as all characters who live in our universe and, at any moment in time, have the potential to show up as long as they're relevant to the present-day story that we're telling and don't feel like they're thrown in there for cameo purposes or for simply for nostalgia's sake. There needs to be a real, dramatic reason [in] present-day why any of these characters would be relevant to our story. I can say that, going forward, we should expect more characters from The Karate Kid films to return but I can't say who or when or pretty much anything beyond that.
What Jon Hurwitz is articulating regarding Cobra Kai and Karate Kid follows along the same lines as another recent fan-favorite TV comeback, Star Trek: Picard. Star Patrick Stewart has said that it was essential to bring back those that “organically” helped stimulate the story, but not everyone gets to rejoin the fun immediately, since that would create unrealistic situations.
Time will tell how Cobra Kai Season 3 follows suit in its pursuit of balancing Karate Kid character returns with the need for them to flow into the narrative naturally. Ralph Macchio is a firm believer in how effective the TV show and the movie still are all these years after the original film got released.
Sadly, Karate Kid’s Rob Garrison will not be a part of Cobra Kai as it moves forward. Garrison, who played Tommy in 1984’s Karate Kid, passed away last September at the age of 59. Hopefully, Cobra Kai finds a way to honor Garrison when it returns for its third season on Netflix.
There is still no word on when Season 3 will arrive. It will be Cobra Kai’s first on Netflix after spending its first two seasons on YouTube Red/YouTube Premium. There is still a lot of Cobra Kai drama to unpack between Johnny, Daniel, any other Karate Kid characters who might return. What will Season 3 hold for them? Stay tuned!