Franchise Fred Approves The Karate Kid Sequel YouTube Series, Cobra Kai!

YouTube Red presented a panel to the Television Critics Association for their original content. Prior to the session, they announced via press release a new series reuniting Karate Kid stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, called, of course, Cobra Kai. Cobra Kai was the karate dojo of bullies led by John Kreese (Martin Kove) in the original movie. Zabka played his star pupil, bully extraordinaire Johnny Lawrence (Zabka).

Harold and Kumar creators Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg write Cobra Kai with Hot Tub Time Machine creator Josh Heald. Cobra Kai will be a 10 episode half hour comedy that picks up 30 years after The Karate Kid. Here is the synopsis:

“Thirty years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament, a down-and-out Johnny Lawrence (Zabka) seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo, reigniting his rivalry with a now successful Daniel LaRusso (Macchio), who has been struggling to maintain balance in his life without the guidance of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi. The show is about two men addressing past demons and present frustrations the only way they know how: through karate.”

Pat Morita of course passed away in 2005, but we have every hope that Daniel-san can carry on Mr. Miyagi’s legacy in Cobra Kai. Franchise Fred thinks this is a great idea. It’s catching up with characters decades later to deal with the aftermath. The LaRusso trilogy’s style of picking up exactly where the last film left off was one fun way to approach it (and keep LaRusso a teenager) but there are equally fun questions raised by picking up later. This franchise actually got to have it both ways. Now there’s no way to return to Daniel and Johnny’s teen years with Macchio and Zabka, but it’s the perfect time for a Rocky Balboa approach, you know, with comedy.

Few franchises change genres, but it makes sense. If winning a high school karate tournament is enough to change your life, it’s kind of funny to imagine where you’d be in 30 years. Hurwitz and Schlossberg are set to direct “much of the series,” according to the press release. While not present at TCA, the trio of creators provided a joint statement.

“Like everyone who grew up in the 1980s, the three of us are enormous fans of The Karate Kid,” said Heald, Hurwitz, and Schlossberg. “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.”

Sony’s Columbia Pictures released the four Karate Kid movies and he 2010 remake. Morita starred in three films with Macchio, including the third which found Kreese attempting revenge on LaRusso. The Next Karate Kid found Miyagi training a rebellious teeange girl played by future two time Oscar winner Hilary Swank. I thought that was a great way to continue the series and explore the differences in Miyagi training an underdog girl, but there’s always going to be a desire to see what the original karate kids are up to.

William Zabka also played himself in How I Met Your Mother and confirmed Barney’s interpretation that HE is the karate kid of the title.

“Continuing the story of The Karate Kid has been a passion project for all of us, and when Ralph and Billy said yes, we knew it had become real,” said Glenn Adilman, EVP Comedy Development, Sony Pictures Television Studios in a statement. “We are thrilled that YouTube Red felt the same thing the minute they heard the pitch and then stepped up with this series commitment.”

YouTube execs also added comment.

“The minute I heard about this project, I knew we had to have it.
The Karate Kid became an instant classic in the 1980s, and still resonates with audiences around the world and on YouTube today,” said Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content, YouTube. “We’re thrilled to partner with Sony TV, Overbrook and the talented writing team led by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg to add a fresh, new comedic twist on one of Hollywood’s most storied rivalries.”

Franchise Fred approves Cobra Kai and hopes they can get Swank to do a cameo.

Written by
Fred Topel also known as Franchise Fred has been an entertainment journalist since 1999 and specializes in writing about film, television and video games. Fred has written for several outlets including About.com, CraveOnline, and Rotten Tomatoes among others. His favorite films include Toy Story 2, The Rock, Face/Off, True Lies, Labyrinth, The Big Hit, Michael Moore's The Big One, and Casablanca. We are very lucky and excited to have Fred as part of the We Live Entertainment team. Follow him on Twitter @FranchiseFred and @FredTopel

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