The future is bright for Cobra Kai. Two years after it first premiered on YouTube Red — ha, anyone remember YouTube Red? – The Karate Kid spinoff series is a pop culture phenomenon. Lesson learned? Never doubt the influence of Netflix.
For die-hard fans, this development is both aggravating and refreshing. As Johnny Lawrence might say, “Where the hell have you wimps been all this time?” But then again, as Daniel LaRusso might wisely counter, “More fans, more future.”
After all, without Netflix, there was no telling whether Cobra Kai would live past its forthcoming third season. If you recall, YouTube was in no place to commit to a fourth season, which means the doors would have most certainly closed on this dojo.
Given the response and the fact that the show has been No. 1 on Netflix all week, creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg should be able to keep the legend going for quite awhile. Maybe even for six seasons as they originally planned.
With that in mind — and because so many of us have been waiting since Season 2 ended on that doozy of a cliffhanger last summer — we decided to look ahead and see what’s in store for Cobra Kai. But more importantly, what could be on the mat.
So, click ahead and trust the quality of what you know — not the quantity.
Mending Miguel and Raging Robby
Well, things certainly escalated at the end of Season 2, huh? No kidding.
To recap, Valley High erupted into a war zone when members of Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do turned the place into a Joe Dante film. While Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser) sustained injuries at the hands of Tory (Peyton List), it was the fight between Johnny’s estranged son Robby (Tanner Buchanan) and Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) that ended in a gasp.
Actually, it ended with Miguel nearly being put in a body bag. Going against the lessons of his new sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove), Miguel ultimately decides to show mercy to Robby. The feeling isn’t mutual, though, and Robby goes against his sensei’s lessons by attacking an off-guard Miguel, which accidentally sends the kid over the balcony.
It gets worse! As we learned by the end, Kreese is using Miguel as a scapegoat for why no fighter should ever be merciful, casting a dark shadow over the titular dojo. If that weren’t bleak enough, Kreese also goes on to dismiss Johnny. Meanwhile, Robby is MIA and Miguel is in the hospital, ostensibly being treated for major spinal injuries.
Rest assured, Miguel will appear in Season 3. Mariduena confirmed the news on Twitter last Fall, writing: “I am thankful for everyone’s hard work and commitment and humbled to be a part of the #CobraKai familia.” In what capacity, though, remains to be seen, and as expected, the creators have been coy. Shortly after Season 2, Hurwitz told EW “the character’s future hangs in the balance, and we’ll see where we go with that.”
The keyword there is balance. Like Star Wars, Cobra Kai is all about the lines we draw between good and bad, right and wrong, black and white. Unlike Star Wars, though, Cobra Kai acknowledges there’s a grey area, and that life is not always that simple. So, if we take that to heart, it’s possible Miguel is in for a detour next season, one that sees the young protege of Johnny being healed and led back to good health by Miyagi-do.
The jury’s also out on Robby. Will he be arrested? Will he be on the run? Will this whole fiasco see him follow the footsteps of his father and enter Cobra Kai? Rough waters ahead for the kid, but then again, maybe not. Let’s not forget, Johnny has left Cobra Kai, and it’s doubtful that LaRusso and him team up (at least not yet) and Miguel’s family wants nothing to do with him anymore. So maybe, just maybe, we’ll see the troubled father and son reunite to bond in their shared misery. Wouldn’t that be nice.
Keep reading for a trip to Japan…
Big in Japan
By now, we know that Season 3 will include scenes set in Okinawa, Japan. Both Hurwitz and Schlossberg have been very explicit with this fact, even sharing a number of behind-the-scenes set photos. In one tweet, Hurwitz acknowledged that this marks La Russo’s first real trip to Japan, seeing how The Karate Kid Part II was actually filmed in Hawaii. In another, Schlossberg teased a scene that “gave [him] chills. Literally and figuratively.”
So, it’s not surprising that the only footage of Season 3 that we’ve seen thus far involves this trip out East. At the end of the new Netflix trailer, Season 3 is teased with a scene in Okinawa involving La Russo and a mysterious figure, one who may reveal wild secrets about the late Mr. Miyagi. On Twitter, Fandango Managing Editor Erik Davis was quick to point out that said figure is likely Yuji Okumoto, aka Part II villain Chozen.
Chozen was one of the more formidable villains in LaRusso’s past. He kidnapped LaRusso’s love interest Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita) and even demanded a fight to the death. When LaRusso finally subdued him, Chozen actually insisted upon his own death, a fate that the Kid refused to give him. So, yeah, things didn’t exactly end so well for the two, but hey, maybe Chozen has found a new lease on life and wanted to thank LaRusso?
It’s not out of the question. What’s more imperative, however, is what Chozen knows. Given that his uncle Sato was Miyagi’s closest friend before the two became bitter rivals, Chozen is likely not bluffing about those secrets. So, what dirt does he have on Miyagi? At best, an unspoken tale involving Miyagi’s former flame, Yukie, who was at one point set to marry Sato. And at worst, they reveal a corrupt side to the Miyagi family name.
Granted, it’s probably in nobody’s interest to smear the beloved Oscar-nominated role of the late Pat Morita. But, if delicately managed, some more backstory to Miyagi couldn’t hurt. Besides, giving the iconic sensei some more nuance would be right in line with what Heald, Hurwitz, and Schlossberg have been offering all along with Cobra Kai. At the very least, these revelations can only make LaRusso’s story that much more intriguing.
Keep reading to find the devil in the details…
The Sound of Silver
If John Kreese is a cold-hearted bastard, then Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) is pure evil. The delectable devil in the shadows of The Karate Kid Part III not only gets LaRusso to turn on his age-old mentor and sensei Mr. Miyagi, but then winds up turning on him! He’s a Bond villain having a ball in a teen sports drama, and he would be a shoe-in for Cobra Kai.
In fact, one could argue Kreese more or less tore a page from Silver’s book with his Machiavellian takeover there at the end of Season 2. Speaking candidly, this writer was 100% convinced Silver would step out with that trademark grin for a final reveal a la Season 1. Alas, that didn’t happen, but there’s plenty of time to make it a reality — and it’d be easy.
Remember how Tory was all dubious about her family history, particularly her father? Don’t you think it’s also weird how she mysteriously showed up? Or how Kreese totally took a liking to her? Who’s to say — and granted, this is all fan-fiction postulating here — that she isn’t Silver’s daughter? Not gonna lie, List and Griffith both do the evil eye thing.
Keep reading to reunite with an old flame…
Ali With an I
Mark our words, Ali Mills is coming back. There’s no way they would put that Facebook request there at the end if they didn’t feel confident enough that they could bring her back. What’s more, neither the creators nor actress Elisabeth Shue have shot down the idea. In fact, Shue herself told Entertainment Tonight Canada in 2019: “I have seen [Cobra Kai] and I feel that it’s really well done. I’m thinking about it. Yes, Ali with an I may live once again.” So, crank up Commuter and get ready for another love triangle.
We’re almost through, keep reading for one more reunion…
There Is Another…
This one’s a bigger “what if?”, but it’s certainly one worth chewing on. Although it’s often the black sheep of the franchise, The Next Karate Kid has grown a cult following over the years, particularly in the wake of Hilary Swank’s success. What has this writer mulling over the two-time Oscar winner’s return as Julie Pierce are those pesky secrets involving Mr. Miyagi.
Miyagi was the only real connective tissue to The Next Karate Kid, and LaRusso had zero involvement in that story. So, if the creators wanted to bring Julie back into the fold for Cobra Kai, they could have LaRusso reach out to his spiritual colleague with questions on whatever info Chozen gave him. Or, they could just say they kept in touch following Miyagi’s death.
Either way, don’t count out Swank, and don’t think she’s out of this series’ league. She’s already set to lead Netflix’s sci-fi drama Away, so the fact that the two parties have a mutual home could only make this an easier reality. Come to think of it, a return to The Karate Kid franchise would totally be in line with her recent run of genre fare (see: this year’s The Hunt).
Let’s finally bridge these stories, no?