With the big debut of Cobra Kai Season 3 on Netflix right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to revisit the film franchise and the Collider Movie Club team had the pleasure of doing just that with Cobra Kai creators, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg and Josh Heald. While we did spend a good deal of time digging into the themes, nuances and most unforgettable moments of the John Avildsen-directed and Robert Mark Kamen-penned 1984 film, at this point, there’s no talking about The Karate Kid without bringing in the new insight that Cobra Kai delivered.
I’ve said it before and it’s well worth repeating; Cobra Kai is a prime example of bringing back a popular property with great purpose. Hurwitz, Schlossberg and Heald don’t just lean on the Karate Kid brand in their series. They continue to build it. And even more impressive, they build it in a way that encourages you to look at the original film in a whole new way.
It’s not time to dig into Cobra Kai Season 3 specifics just yet, but while on Collider Movie Club, the trio did tease what to expect from the new season when it comes to putting elements of the original films to use. Hurwitz began by highlighting something we caught a glimpse of in the latest trailer, Daniel’s trip to Okinawa:
“One of the things that we love about Season 3 is it’s the first time that Ralph Macchio was actually filming in Okinawa because they shot Karate Kid II in Hawaii. So we get to know a little bit more about Mr. Miyagi. We should take a moment and just talk a little bit more about Pat Morita’s amazing performance, as the layers in that performance, that’s one of those things that you watch the movie as a kid and then you watch it as you get older and you realize just how special that performance was. Mr. Miyagi was a character who was troubled, who was flawed, who had issues, who wasn’t eager to train Daniel LaRusso in karate. The memories you have are that warm relationship that Daniel and Miyagi have but, in a sense, if you rewatch The Karate Kid and then you watch early episodes of Cobra Kai, there’s sort of a similarity between Johnny’s attitude about Miguel and Miyagi’s attitude about Daniel in certain ways. Those characters actually overlap in quite a few ways. One of the things that we love about Season 3 is to be able to dig a little bit more into the past of Miyagi’s karate and Mr. Miyagi himself.”
Those are some pretty significant topics for Season 3 to tackle right there, but Schlossberg stressed that there’s even more to it than that:
“And that’s only one aspect because that’s the one that we’ve talked about. We don’t want to get too into detail with some of the other things except to say, one of the goals that we have when we do the show is to give greater insight and depth into the characters that we see in the original movie and so our hope is, if you watch Season 3, you’ll go [back again] and watch Karate Kid in a new light, in a different way than if you’ve seen the first two seasons because we shed light on certain things that kind of, in some ways, set up the original Karate Kid movie.You get little glimpses, for example, of what Johnny’s life was like and his home life was like on our show in Season 1, which gives you a new perspective when you watch the original. I think it’s a similar thing in Season 3. We have moments in the season that make you go back to the first movie and look at it in a new light. Like Jon said, one is with Miyagi, but it’s with all the characters and it’s fun because we’re telling a new, fresh story. We have a lot of stuff with the younger actors that have nothing to do with the past, but you can’t escape the past and it’s embedded in the story and in the characters and to understand the present and the future you kind of have to go back into the past and work things out and uncover new things, and that’s what’s fun about Season 3.”
Given the fact that the team behind Cobra Kai has already changed my viewing experience of The Karate Kid twice, it’d be quite the achievement for them to pull that off again. But, I’m a big believer they’ll be releasing another winner in that respect on Netflix in the New Year. The trio has already proven that their attention to detail and ability to expand on those ideas is impeccable and, when you think about it, there are still some pretty significant elements of the original Karate Kid that they’ve yet to tap into and, on top of that, they’re clearly playing with some Part II components now, too.
Whether we’re talking about Karate Kid, Karate Kid Part II or even Cobra Kai, mistakes were made by a number of characters and based on what Heald told us, it sounds like Season 3 is going to address them:
“There’s a great lyric in Joe Esposito’s timeless song, ‘You’re The Best Around,’ that says history repeats itself. It’s in there because that song was composed for Rocky III and it was literally supposed to be history repeats itself as he’s fighting again, but they use it for The Karate Kid where I don’t think history had repeated itself yet at the time the song was on, but by the time our audience is seeing Season 3 of Cobra Kai there is enough to play with now with that younger generation, especially looking back at the movie and lots of characters realizing what mistakes haven’t been truly dealt with, what is left to evolve and how to fix the pain that we left audiences [with], feeling that sucker punch of the end of Season 2. So we have a lot to answer for as the writers who put everybody through that, but I think it’s going to be a very satisfying season for people to bathe in.”
That’s where we leave you for now, but trust me when I tell you Collider is going to be packed with Cobra Kai content in the coming weeks! While you wait for that to drop, why not revisit some of our other Cobra Kai interviews? We’ve got one with Johnny Lawrence himself, William Zabka, right here. We’ve also got an interview with Martin Cove over here and an episode of Collider Ladies Night with Mary Mouser right here.
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Seth Rogen will produce and likely co-star as the man who stole the infamous tape.
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