During the original Karate Kid shoot, late director John G. Avildsen shot hours of tournament footage from multiple angles. Thecrew behind Cobra Kai searched the studio vault and found a ton of never-before-seen clips, which they were able to introduce into the series via flashbacks. One of them includes Zabka's real life mom, who was in the stands in different angles that went unseen until 2018. Ralph Macchio told Uproxx there are three brand new angles of the famous crane kick.
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Ralph Macchio was 57 years old at the release of this series - five years older than Pat Morita was at the time of release of The Karate Kid.
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Johnny Lawrence confirms the long held belief that Daniel LaRusso's crane kick, that won him the tournament in The Karate Kid (1984), was an illegal move and should have resulted in at least a warning (or had him disqualified with Johnny then being crowned champion of the tournament).
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Most of the Cobra Kai students have experience in martial arts as actual black belts or advanced trained dancers.
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Bill Conti's music score from the 1st movie, as well as some songs from the soundtrack, were used in this show.
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In a behind the scenes featurette, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka state that even though most of the scenes they were in together in the original Karate Kid, they were either arguing or Macchio was "getting his ass kicked", they were friendly and had a lot of fun on set.
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Johnny lives in the Reseda Heights apartments. This apartment complex and its location are made to resemble Daniel Larusso's apartment complex in the original Karate Kid, complete with identical paint and coloring on the lettering. This also references the discrimination Daniel experienced in the first movie for being from Reseda instead of a richer part of LA like Johnny and Ali (Elizabeth Shue), and is meant to illustrate how low Johnny has descended since the original film.
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On 10 May 2018, YouTube announced a second season going into production.
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The Larusso's house is the same house used for the Walsh family in Beverly Hills 90210.
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This series, unlike the original The Karate Kid (1984) movie which involved Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) as the main antagonist, focuses the story more from Johnny's point of view and not Daniel LaRusso's (Ralph Macchio), although the series features an ensemble cast with various characters receiving focus.
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Most of the Cobra Kai students were named after members of the crew.
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Ralph Macchio was 22 years old portraying a 17 year old high school student while filming the first "Karate Kid" film. Mary Mouser, who plays his daughter, Samantha, in the series "Cobra Kai", is also a 22 year old in real life portraying a 17 year old.
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In real life, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka became friends after the original Karate Kid film was completed and became a hit. Macchio said that they became even closer friends after Noriyuki "Pat" Morita (Mr. Miyagi) passed away in 2005. Ralph Macchio and William Zabka were also 80s teen heartthrobs, with Zabka usually being depicted as 'the bad boy".
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Sean Kanan has expressed his interest in reprising his role as Mike Barnes from The Karate Kid Part III (1989).
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In How I Met Your Mother (2005), Barney insists that William Zabka's character is the titular Karate Kid, and he considers him as a personal hero because of that. This could be based on an actual fan theory that claims that Daniel is the real bully, while Johnny is the real Karate Kid. The theory gives some plausible reasons, such as the fact that while Johnny's behavior might not always be right, he never actually gets violent and uses his skills only for defense or de-escalation. Daniel on the other hand is always the attacker. It is also suggested that Daniel's motivations to learn Karate is not only to compete with Johnny, but also to take revenge on him.
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Diora Beard played William Zabka's wife in Hot Tub Time Machine (2010). In Cobra Kai she plays his ex and mother to his son Robby.
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The movie Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) is watching on TV in the first episode, is Iron Eagle (1986). Actor Rob Garrison, who played Tommy, a fellow Cobra Kai and Johnny's friend in The Karate Kid, also appeared in the early scenes of Iron Eagle, as Packer.
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When Johnny Lawrence has Aisha making a recording of him for a commercial for the Cobra Kai dojo, he tells her to add the Cobra Kai logo at the end and to make it chrome so it really stands out, a reference to the Cobra Kai logo for the series that appears at the end of every episode.
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Daniel serves Bananarama Pancakes to his kids for breakfast . Bananarama's song "Cruel Summer" appears in The Karate Kid (1984), in the scene where Daniel first rides his bike to school. The song was a hit in 1984 but never made the movie soundtrack. The song was later remixed and used as a cover in the season 2 finale.
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Although they play Mother and daughter, Courtney Henggeler (Amanda Larusso) is only 14 years older than Mary Mouser (Samantha).
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Miyagi-Do students wear blue clothes while Cobra Kai's wear red. Whenever either student is caught in a conflict between the 2 dojos, they'd wear both colors or a combination of the two.
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Fathom Events screened a double feature of the first two episodes followed by The Karate Kid (1984) in select theaters on April 25 2018, a week before the series premiered on YouTube Red.
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At the start of the series. The scar above Hawks lip is extremely prominent. As the series continues however, it becomes less apparent, symbolising Hawks growing confidence.
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It's become apparent that Miguel Diaz evolved into what Daniel wanted to become in the original movie, as all Daniel wanted to learn karate for was to get even with Johnny and the Cobra Kai guys the same way they did to him. Miguel, once he finally gets his skills in order, successfully beats Kyler and his buddies and is never messed with again by them. Meanwhile Daniel obviously learned an alternate form that focuses less on aggression, and his revenge involved upsetting Johnny at the All-Valley Karate Tournament despite his injury, earning the respect of Johnny, and exposing Kreese for what he really was. Furthermore, both Daniel and Miguel's path to learn karate start the same; with their eventual senseis stepping in to stop the kids that were bullying them, them asking if that person can teach them karate and being initially shut down, but then they change their minds and teach them. (Mr. Miyagi somewhat reluctantly because his attempt at diplomacy with the original Cobra Kai failed, and Johnny after he and Daniel talked about their encounter in the finals back in the day.)
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Released 24 years after The Next Karate Kid (1994) starring Hilary Swank and 29 years after The Karate Kid Part III (1989) with Ralph Macchio, who reprises his role of Daniel LaRusso in this series.
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One of the executive producers is Will Smith, who also served as a producer of the 2010 reboot, which starred Smith's son Jaden.
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Despite his death in 2005, Pat Morita who played Mr. Miyagi in the previous four Karate Kid movies, is still part of the series. He is mentioned occasionally and seen in flashback sequences. The fifth episode is dedicated to his memory. A body double is also used in a season 2 episode showing Mr. Miyagi building his backyard.
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Jacob Bertrand who plays "Hawk" and Peyton List who plays Torrie in season 2 both starred together in the Disney Channel movie The Swap.
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A YouTube Red exclusive.
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When Miguel is trying to convince Johnny to let Aisha join Cobra Kai, he tells Johnny that her father is Isiah Robinson, a Hall of Fame lineman for the Chargers. However, no such Hall of Fame football player exists. The closest match is Isiah Robertson, who was a 6 time Pro Bowl linebacker in the 70s for the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills. Robertson was killed in a limo accident in December 2018, roughly 6 months after the release of the first season.
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Throughout the series Johnny is constantly seen drinking Coors Banquet while Daniel is drinking more "upscale" drinks or "craft" and "imported beer. Daniel makes light jokes about Johnny drinking "old man beer" while Johnny refers to Daniel's drinks as "pussy" beer. This was done to show Johnny as a "Blue Collar" guy set in his ways while Daniel is able to adapt into the age of Social Media and political correctness. Daniel throughout the series is seen drinking Corona, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Samuel Adams Summer Ale, and Blue Moon. Blue Moon is made by Coors ironically enough.
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Up until the final episode of season 2. Only Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) and John Kreese (Martin Kove) have appeared in all three of the primary Karate Kid movies and every season of the Cobra Kai tv series.
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In Season 2 Tommy dies and ends up in a body bag. It's a clear nod to the infamous quote "Get him a body bag" during the final match between Daniel and Johnny in the original Karate Kid.
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In a season 2 behind the scenes featurette, Ralph Macchio says that he has not seen Elisabeth Shue in a long time. He then follows that by saying "Who knows? I might see her again soon", teasing Shue's return as Ali in season 3.
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The only member of Johnny's group of friends from Cobra Kai from the original Karate Kid movie to not appear in the series is Dutch (whom Daniel fought in the All Valley Tournament), due to Dutch serving time in Lompoc Prison. Chad McQueen was asked to reprise his role but refused due to commitments to his company, McQueen Racing.
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When Johnny reunites with his old friends from high school, he mentions how Tommy beat Vidal in the semi finals in the 1983 tournament. Vidal is the same fighter that Johnny beat in the semi finals one year later before facing Daniel in the original Karate Kid film.
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As the series progresses, the character Eli who is meek and is defined by his flaw (hare lip) transitions and reinvents himself as "Hawk". During his transition he becomes empowered and confident and his defect becomes less prominent until it's barely noticeable to the viewer. This is likely intentional by the producers to show that when Eli gained confidence, he was no longer aware nor defined by his flaws.
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When Hawk and other Cobra Kai members vandalize the Miyagi-Do dojo and steal Mr. Miyagi's Medal of Honor, it marks the third time in the Karate Kid saga that such events have taken place against Miyagi-Do karate. In Karate Kid Part II, Chozen and his gang destroy the Miyagi dojo in Okinawa. And in Karate Kid Part III, Mike Barnes steals Mr. Miyagi's bonsai trees from his home in an effort to make Daniel re-enter the All Valley Tournament.
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During the scene when Johnny and his original Cobra Kai friends are in the bar, Johnny says that Tommy gave him a run for his money in the '83 tournament's final match. However, in the original Karate Kid film, the tournament announcer says that Johnny and Tommy's other friend and former Cobra Kai member, Bobby Brown, was the runner-up to Johnny in the previous year (1983), meaning that Tommy never made it to the finals.
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