If you grew up in the ‘80s, chances are you’ve seen The Karate Kid a few times (the original, not the 2010 Jaden Smith reboot – let’s just act like that never happened…). For some of us, The Karate Kid was one of those films which defines a large part of our cinematic childhood. The classic underdog tale wove together martial arts with a feel-good tale of redemption, standing up for one’s self, and beating the odds – not to mention how to properly wax a car. As millennials are aging and beginning to shape the pop culture of today, reboots, sequels, and adaptations of beloved ‘80s and ‘90s franchises are inevitable. The latest nostalgia-inspired announcement comes thanks to video streaming site YouTube Red, who have picked up the rights to Cobra Kai, a new Karate Kid spinoff starring two of the original film’s stars.
Over three decades after Daniel-san learned to wax on (and wax off, of course) Ralph Macchio and William Zabka will return to square off once again. This time, however, the students have become the teachers. The two were bitter rivals in the first Karate Kid and squared off in the film’s iconic final fight scene in which Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso breaks out his fearsome crane pose on Zabka’s Johnny Lawrence. In the new series, Daniel and Johnny are now the sensei of two opposing karate dojos, and Johnny wants revenge for his humiliating loss to the injured Daniel in the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament.
Cobra Kai will be less serious than its source material, mixing martial arts action with tongue-in-cheek references to the original film and its impact on pop culture. Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine), Jon Hurwitz (Harold and Kumar) and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold and Kumar) will write the series and executive produce alongside Macchio and Zabka. Heald, Hurwitz, and Schlossberg released a statement during a YouTube press conference at this year’s Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, proclaiming their excitement at being given the chance to relive a piece of their childhoods:
Like everyone who grew up in the 1980s, the three of us are enormous fans of The Karate Kid. Cobra Kai will be a true continuation of the original films — packed with comedy, heart and thrilling fight scenes. We can’t wait to reignite the LaRusso-Lawrence rivalry, and we’re thankful to our partners at YouTube Red, Sony Pictures Television and Overbrook for their shared enthusiasm in making our dream project a reality.
YouTube Red narrowly beat out AMC, Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu for the rights to Cobra Kai. Let’s just hope it’s a lot better than the 2010 reboot. Sheesh.
The ten-episode series is slated to debut on YouTube Red in 2018.