Cobra Kai's arrival on Netflix has created a second honeymoon of sorts for the series, as more viewers and longtime fans have come to appreciate the acclaimed sequel series to The Karate Kid. We're also learning more about the series from the cast and crew, including the reason why Daniel Larusso actor Ralph Macchio got hooked into the premise early on.
Macchio spoke to Vanity Fair about his career in a lengthy video and, towards the end, he got into what he feels is the really interesting part of Cobra Kai. Macchio spoke about the premise of the original movies and how the show's creators found a different perspective that got him hooked into becoming part of the franchise once more:
[Creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg] found an angle into the universe from a different perspective, and they wanted to dive into the gray areas of these characters. And that’s what the big hook was for me.
Cobra Kai is a series that follows the first film's major villain, Johnny Lawrence but, throughout the first two seasons, we realize he's not quite as evil as he appeared in The Karate Kid. Johnny's story and why he was the way he was in the first movie is further fleshed out, and it showed the nuance that makes Johnny more of a sympathetic character than some may have thought in the 1980s.
Furthermore, Cobra Kai presents the argument that Daniel Larusso isn't quite the squeaky clean character himself. Ralph Macchio talked about how the Netflix series combats the original plot of The Karate Kid movies and can change a way the audience thinks about a character while watching Seasons 1 and 2:
Karate Kid was very ‘black and white,’ ‘good over evil,’ ‘Daniel-son good, Johnny Lawrence bad,’ ‘Miyagi good, Kreese bad.’ Cobra Kai, each episode, your allegiance may change on who you’re rooting for and why. Diving into those areas and always paying homage to the film, the nostalgia of what The Karate Kid has become in pop culture and cinema was super important, but no less important than making the story fresh for this generation. And that’s what these guys convinced me we could do.
I wouldn't go so far as to say Cobra Kai has done much to make John Kreese a likable character, but it has done enough to certainly add some complexity to the personalities of characters like Daniel Larusso and Johnny Lawrence. It ultimately helps the show transition into more of a modern television drama, while still maintaining the lovable '80s style cheese that evokes the nostalgia of the original movies.
Cobra Kai Seasons 1 and 2 are currently available to binge on Netflix. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more on the series, and for a look ahead at what's happening in television and movies.