Fear does not exist in this dojo, but major spoilers for Cobra Kai Season 3 lie ahead. So read at your own risk.
Cobra Kai Season 3 has finally arrived, and it did not disappoint. The season deepened the rivalry between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do and dropped some major bombshells along the way. Of course, the show also gave us plenty of nostalgia by bringing back classic Karate Kid characters like Kumiko and Chozen. And the season’s final two episodes also brought back the character of Ali Mills, who was once again played by Elisabeth Shue. CinemaBlend recently learned that Shue had not yet signed on to appear when her character was teased at the end of Season 2, and Ralph Macchio has now revealed that the producers had a weird backup plan if the actress didn’t return.
One of Cobra Kai Season 3’s subplots saw the now Facebook-literate Johnny Lawrence communicating with Ali on the social media platform. These scenes served as some of the sweetest and funniest moments of the season. But during a press event for Cobra Kai, Ralph Macchio told CinemaBlend and other news outlets that these convos would have taken on a totally different meaning if Elisabeth Shue didn’t agree to appear:
There was an alternate plan if she wasn’t available. . . . That was the fallback, the ‘how are we gonna vacuum ourselves out of the room’ from what we’ve written, which would be her husband was doing the Facebook back-and-forth with Johnny.
Now, that would have been an awkward development. Johnny has had lingering feelings for Alli in the years since The Karate Kid and, as a result, he (mostly) put thought into the messages he sent her over Facebook. Revealing that her husband was the one who had actually been corresponding with him all that time would have honestly come out of left field. But it would have been interesting to see how Johnny would have handled such a revelation.
Thankfully, Elisabeth Shue ultimately joined Cobra Kai, and Ali’s long-awaited return lived up to the hype. When Ali arrives in the season’s penultimate episode, she’s in the middle of a separation from her husband and is visiting her parents in California for the holidays. This leads her to reconnect with Johnny and later Daniel LaRusso. Ali quickly senses that things are still tense between the two men and is caught up on their dojo rivalry. But she manages to extinguish the flames a bit, which ultimately plays a role in the two joining forces against John Kreese in the finale.
It’s been fun to see all of the smart ways Cobra Kai has revived Karate Kid characters. Not only did Ali, Kumiko and Chozen help contribute to the journeys of Johnny and Daniel, but they also evolved as characters themselves. With more seasons mapped out, there’s still plenty of time to bring in other franchise veterans, so let’s hope the producers continue to dig deep for familiar faces.
Cobra Kai is available to stream on Netflix.