After two seasons on YouTube, the “Karate Kid” spinoff “Cobra Kai” has found new life on Netflix, with a third season on the way next year. For creators Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg and Josh Heald, the change means that they could take the show in new directions they might not have been able to try before… and give “Cobra Kai” a possible spinoff of its own.
“Cobra Kai” started as a revival of the rivalry between “Karate Kid” hero Daniel LaRusso and archnemesis Johnny Lawrence more than 30 years after their showdown at the All-Valley Karate Tournament. Since then, that feud has grown to take over the lives of not only their children but the entire high school where they attend. Season 2 ended with a school-wide war between Johnny’s Cobra Kai students and Daniel’s Miyagi-do disciples, resulting in Johnny’s closest student, Miguel, in the hospital and Daniel’s wife furiously demanding that he shut down his dojo.
With all these characters set for more challenges in Season 3, Hurwitz said that they’ve played with the idea of a “Cobra Kai” spinoff.
“It’s hard for me to give you an exact answer to this, but what I can say is that we have a list of at least five different scenarios that we would pursue, that we could consider,” Hurwitz revealed in an interview with /Film. “Now, some of them are untraditional. Some of them are unlike any kind of spin-off you’ve ever seen before. But, every time we’re writing episodes of the show, we’re falling in love with the characters that we’re creating and examining characters from the past.
“Within the world of ‘Cobra Kai,’ there are certain things that you can explore and certain things that don’t fit into that particular box, but there may be opportunities down the road to break out one of these characters and get to know them better or to explore different times in characters’ lives.”
Heald said that he, Hurwitz and Schlossberg went into the series wanting to show that “in the real world, when you resort to violence, and that is what karate is even in self-defense, it can backfire.”
To show those consequences meant developing several new characters. Along with Miguel, a bullied kid that Johnny took under his wing as a sort of anti-Mr. Miyagi, “Cobra Kai” has introduced new characters like Johnny’s son, Robby, and Daniel’s daughter, Sam, who begin to develop feelings as they train under Daniel. “Cobra Kai” also expands the role of John Kreese, the original head of “Cobra Kai,” who locks horns with Johnny.
Schlossberg said that navigating that balance between the martial arts action “Karate Kid” fans expect and not sugarcoating the real-life consequences of Johnny and Daniel’s actions was a key step for them.
“I think that we talk on this show a lot about violence and kids and school because it’s such a disturbing subject that’s actually going on in the world and in this country,” he said. “I think there is a balance there of not avoiding things, but also not taking you out of a ‘Karate Kid’ movie or something that would have the feel of that.”
Having just settled in at Netflix, Heald joked that they’re “not trying to be the houseguests who come to Netflix and start getting too comfortable too soon in terms of, ‘Oh, that’s nice, we’re going to have that room too.’”
“I think if we’re fortunate to go forward more, we’re going to continue to do what we do, which is write economically and have big visions and rely on our production partners to help us bring those visions to fruition,” Heald said. “But I can say we always want to grow the show bigger and, with the amount of characters we now have in this universe, it naturally has expanded well beyond the scope of where it started back in Season 1.”
“Cobra Kai” is now available on Netflix, with Season 3 set to arrive in 2021.