More than 30 years after the original Karate Kid movie made waves at the box office, stars William Zabka and Ralph Macchio will return to “sweep the leg” once again. YouTube’s new premium subscription service, YouTube Red, will be the exclusive home for a new sequel television series called Cobra Kai.
As you might have guessed from the title, the new series will not focus exclusively on Macchio’s character, Daniel LaRusso, but will share the spotlight with his former nemesis, Johnny Lawrence, played by Zabka.
The series will find a down-on-his-luck Johnny attempting to find redemption by reopening the notorious Cobra Kai dojo.
Daniel, who now runs a successful dojo of his own, is enraged by the re-emergence of Cobra Kai, especially after Johnny develops a friendship with Daniel’s son.
Hot Tub Time Machine writer Josh Heald is teaming with Harold & Kumar writer/directors Jon Hurwitz and Schlossberg to write Cobra Kai, with Hurwitz and Schlossberg planning to direct most episodes.
If that pedigree sounds like the show might be more humorous than the original Karate Kid movies, you might be right; YouTube describes Cobra Kai as a “half hour comedy” series.
Macchio says he has fielded numerous offers to return to the role of Daniel LaRusso over the years, but this was the first pitch that actually made him want to sign on.
Zabka appeared in the first two Karate Kid movies, while Macchio returned for a third; a fourth movie, The Next Karate Kid, was released in 1994 with Hilary Swank in the lead role.
In 2010, Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan starred in a loose remake of the original film, though many elements were different, including the fact that the movie actually featured kung-fu instead of karate.
Jaden’s father, Will Smith, produced the remake and he will be an executive producer on Cobra Kai along with Macchio and Zabka. Ten episodes of the new show will make their debut on YouTube Red sometime in 2018.