The Karate Kid is Returning on YouTube Red

Ralph Macchio (left) and William Zabka.

Ralph Macchio (left) and William Zabka.

For many of us aging millennials, The Karate Kid was a seminal part of our childhood. The iconic martial arts underdog tale taught us some important lessons about never giving up, standing up to bullies, and most importantly, the proper way to wax one’s car. While the film launched a series of less-than-successful sequels, the original 1984 film remains a cult classic and a central part of ‘80s pop culture. Let’s just all agree right now that the 2010 reboot of The Karate Kid starring Jaden Smith never happened. With a bit of luck, YouTube Red will be doing the same as they reboot The Karate Kid with their newly-announced Cobra Kai spinoff series set for a streaming release next year.

Yes, more than thirty years after Daniel-san first learned to wax on and wax off, the original film’s stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka are returning in Cobra Kai. The series takes place in the present, when the disgraced Johnny Lawrence (Zabka) opens a dojo named after the ‘bad guy’ dojo from the original Karate Kid, Cobra Kai. Johnny uses the dojo as a way of seeking revenge for his loss to Daniel LaRusso in the infamous 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament.

The series is being billed as a comedy and will rely heavily upon references to the original film and its impact on pop culture. Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine) and Harold and Kumar writers/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg are serving as writers and executive producers, The trio issued a joint statement during YouTube’s event at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, stating that they are just as excited to see Daniel and Johnny re-ignite their rivalry as Karate Kid fans are:

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.

Zabka and Macchio will also serve as executive producers on Cobra Kai. YouTube Red won the rights to the series after a lengthy bidding war with AMC, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

The ten-episode series is slated to debut on YouTube Red in 2018.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley

Brett lives at the foot of the ancient Appalachian mountains in Asheville, North Carolina and writes about technology, science, and culture.
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Brett Tingley