Ralph Macchio, who returned to play Daniel LaRusso from “The Karate Kid” franchise in “Cobra Kai,” said there was a lot of “excitement yet reservation” when first returning to the world of the film. The third season, which is now streaming on Netflix, continued to thresh out “The Karate Kid” mythology and featured a new sensei at the fore of the Cobra Kai dojo.
“It’s our fist-pumping season,” Macchio said. “Sort of giving the fans what they’re looking for, but not necessarily it unfolding exactly how they expect.”
At the Sony Pictures TV Virtual FYC House, Variety senior TV writer Joe Otterson spoke with the cast of “Cobra Kai” about watching the series evolve from its initial YouTube debut to their standout moments from the third season. In addition to Macchio, the panel featured actors William Zabka, Courtney Henggeler and Vanessa Rubio.
For Macchio, he found the Okinawa trip in episodes four and five to be the most special part of the new season, which he said allowed him to add new layers of depth to his iconic role.
“Daniel LaRusso, being this character back in the day who was the hero young teen protagonist, we all rooted for the every kid next door that we cheered when he wins,” Macchio said. “And now we are 35 years later and seeing these flaws and other things in these darker sides to a guy that might’ve lost his way and needs to get back on track and find his balance if you will. These are all elements that add to the depth of what I get to do in the ‘Cobra Kai’ show. The intentions are always good but not always executed perfectly. And I think for all of our characters, that’s the case.”
In the weeks after losing Cobra Kai, Johnny Lawrence (Zabka) spent his days drinking and “licking his wounds” having failed Miguel (Xolo Maridueña). After his student came back to life, Zabka said that his character began to slowly regain his strength. The actor said that one of his favorite parts of the season was the “tango and cash ride” around town and getting into fights with the guys.
“I especially loved in that fight how Daniel comes to pull him off the guy, and then instantly they square off which just keeps that going,” Zabka said. “There’s so many parts of season three, it really was fireworks. And the guys delivered everything.”
Watch the panel in full above.
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