The Karate Kid sequel series, Cobra Kai, has proven to be a huge hit for Netflix. Delivering the same powerful dramatic punches as the beloved 80's movie, Coba Kai's second season ended on an agonizing cliff-hanger, shocking not only viewers at home, but star of the show William Zabka too.

"While we're doing the show, we're getting scripts on top of scripts. We had the first few as we start and they keep coming in and we're turning the page as we're doing it. And when [2x09] and [2x10] came in and especially [2x10], I think everybody showed up at the set the next day. And the whole makeup trailer was like, 'Oh my gosh.' I mean, the makeup artists, the stunt guys were like, 'Are they for real, like, it's really gonna go there?'"
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"And then emotionally for me as the character to play that, I don't want to give anything away, but everything Johnny was building, in a sense, the world crumbles. And that was a hard, hard thing to do and to play because it was also like the show is taking a turn. And where is it all going? It's a very insecure feeling of that. Very painful. Really interesting. Especially the very ending and then, I don't want to give anything away, but all of that played really real for all the actors."

For those who wish to avoid spoilers for the ending of Cobra Kai, skip this sentence. In the final minutes of the second season of Cobra Kai, a massive high school brawl breaks out, concluding with Daniel LaRusso's student and Johnny Lawrence's son, Robby, kicking Johnny's number one student, Miguel, off a balcony and onto a set of stairs several feet below, leaving him with potentially life-threatening injuries.

Interestingly, the decision to end the series on such a nail-biting, unresolved note came before the show had been renewed for a third season, a gamble that left Zabka an emotional wreck.

"And, then at the end of Season 2, it was this big question mark. I came home from shooting that with a knot in my stomach and pit in my throat going, 'There'd better be a Season 3 to work this out man, because I am like, sure enough, I'm destroyed right now.' We hadn't been renewed yet. I'm like, 'If it ends here I'm in so much trouble. Like, I'm gonna need years of therapy to get over it.'"

Thankfully, Cobra Kai has now been renewed for a third season, which came as a relief to William Zabka, who revealed some of what audiences can expect upon the show's return, as well as where the inspiration for the initial idea of the show came from.

"We got the green light for Season 3, but we didn't know what that was going to be yet until those scripts rolled in and then the guys pitched it to us. So it does have a rebound but a great thing about the show is it's really unpredictable. And the writing is really unpredictable. So it's like, left, right, left, right. Bam - hit a wall, things blow up, and then it's all back together and there's comedy in it. It's just so well-crafted. And it's the three writers and their team of writers, they're wicked and they're fans, that's the thing. They came at it as like, they say The Karate Kid was their Star Wars in a way."
"You know, it was like they were uber-fans of the franchise and then they're just great writers and hearts of gold. And they understand all these characters in this world. They knew it when they pitched it to me. I mean, they told me about these characters Hawk and Miguel and those were foreigners to me. And I didn't understand what that was. I understood what Johnny Lawrence was gonna be, which is going to be like 'Bad Sensei.' Like 'Bad Santa,' but 'Bad Sensei.' That's how they pitched it to me. They just have a handle on this whole, whole world. It's a good thing to feel."

Returning star Ralph Macchio has also been discussing the upcoming season, teasing a return to Okinawa when the show returns, suggesting that there will be a link to 1986's The Karate Kid Part II. "I have been to Okinawa for some shooting of Cobra Kai season 3, which I cannot talk too much about," Macchio revealed. "But I can say it dives into the origin of Miyagi-Do Karate. We learn a little bit, some secrets of past history that is new to the audience, and to LaRusso, my character, and we actually went to Okinawa to shoot."

It was also confirmed recently that the third season will not be delayed due to the ongoing global situation. Fortunately, the series was able to wrap production and get everything necessary finished before the entertainment industry was put on indefinite hiatus some months ago. Showrunner Josh Heald said, "Thankfully with season 3, we wrapped production before the end of 2019, and we wrapped post-production... I think there was a little bit of overlap." He also noted that, "we finished our final mix, the last big piece of post-production in person."

Set 34 years after the first Karate Kid movie, Cobra Kai re-examines the narrative from Daniel's rival, Johnny Lawrence's point of view. Now a struggling alcoholic, Johnny decides to reopen the Cobra Kai karate dojo, leading to the rekindling of his old rivalry with Daniel LaRusso. Cobra Kai sees the return of both Ralph Macchio as Daniel and William Zabka as Johnny. The series also stars Courtney Henggeler, Xolo Maridueña, Tanner Buchanan, Mary Mouser, Jacob Bertrand, Gianni Decenzo, Vanessa Rubio, Peyton List, and Martin Kove. The series was created by Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald. The show has been a massive success for Netflix, with the first and second seasons of Cobra Kai now available on the popular streaming service. The third season is due to land on Netflix sometime in 2021. This comes to us courtesy of Comicbook.com.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb
Jon Fuge