Reviving old movies and TV shows is big business for Hollywood studios and production houses. So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that 1984’s The Karate Kid is being revisited for a new series. But there’s a twist to this new endeavor.
According to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Lesley Goldberg, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka will reprise their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence, respectively, for a 10-episode series titled Cobra Kai that will stream on YouTube Red, which requires a monthly subscription.
Lest you think revisiting LaRusso and Lawrence 30-plus years after their iconic match at the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament, producers are embracing the absurdity and Cobra Kai will be a comedy series.
As THR reports, the story will follow Lawrence who’s fallen on hard times, reopening the infamous Cobra Kai dojo where he trained under sensei John Kreese. Cobra Kai’s return attracts the attention of LaRusso, who’s been seeking purpose and guidance in his life since his teacher, Mr. Miyagi, passed away. The two renew their rivalry, addressing issues from their past and projecting them onto their current struggles.
The Karate Kid is so woven into pop culture that plenty of people should be aware of it whether they saw the film or not. (Zabka starred in a Buffalo Wild Wings commercial as his character not too long ago.) But we’re also talking about a film that was released more than 30 years ago.
So if you’re not familiar, the original movie followed LaRusso and his mother moving from New Jersey to Los Angeles. Eventually, LaRusso encounters Lawrence, who bullies and beats up Daniel with the help of his mates, and Mr. Miyagi intervenes. LaRusso asks Miyagi to train him and he eventually faces each of the Cobra Kai crew in a karate tournament.
The movie was a hit, prompting two sequels, The Karate Kid Part II and III. Part II , which took the story to Miyagi’s native Japan, was even more successful than the original at the box office. But Part III, more of a sequel to the original, was a dud (despite being directed by John Avildsen, who helmed the first Rocky film) and put a franchise that had been stretched too far out of commission.
A remake starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan was made in 2010, and was moderately successful, but not enough to fuel a new set of sequels.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Elisabeth Shue will be part of the series, so Daniel won’t be reuniting with Ali. It’s probably just as well. There’s only so much of reliving your high school days that you can take at one time. But Shue wasn’t part of the sequels, so that probably shouldn’t be surprise. Pat Morita, who so memorably portrayed Mr. Miyagi, passed away in 2005.
Both Macchio and Zabka will be executive producers on the series, along with Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine) and Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who wrote the Harold & Kumar series of comedies. Hurwitz and Schlossberg are also expected to direct most of the 10 episodes.
Cobra Kai will debut sometime in 2018 on YouTube Red, the streaming video outlet’s subscription, ad-free service.