The new Karate Kid reboot film has no plans to connect with Netflix’s Cobra Kai series, which is a massive insult to a great show. Series co-creator Jon Hurwitz confirmed that the new movie won’t feature or focus on the cast of Cobra Kai, and since then no new details have been released. Throughout five seasons (with a sixth on the way) Cobra Kai has amassed a loyal following, striking a chord with countless fans old and new. It seems strange that the new Karate Kid movie won’t be taking advantage of what has been established in Cobra Kai.
The plan for the new Karate Kid movie insults what Cobra Kai has achieved on Netflix. Not only is it a fantastic show in its own right, but it’s a prime example of how to properly reboot a franchise, something the new film should take advantage of. While having a Karate Kid movie that stands on its own may appeal to general audiences, it could also alienate existing fans of the franchise. As a result, it’s unclear whether the new Karate Kid film can afford to be separate from Cobra Kai.
Cobra Kai Is Already A Perfect Reboot Of The Karate Kid
The new Karate Kid movie’s biggest problem is that Cobra Kai has already succeeded in rebooting the franchise. The story is very in line with the original movies, but the creators chose to reframe the narrative from the antagonist’s perspective. Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) has a very different personality and teaching style from Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), and over time he grows into a better man and mentor through teaching karate. Cobra Kai manages to perfectly balance familiar elements with fresh new ideas, something many reboots tend to struggle with.
The creators of Cobra Kai are also big Karate Kid fans, and it’s apparent in how the show continues story arcs from the original films. Several returning characters appear in Cobra Kai, and the show also expands on ideas that were never fully developed in the movies, like a Miyagi-Do student going over to Cobra Kai (and vice versa). While the fan service is excellent, the main present-day story with Johnny and Daniel is still the heart of the show, so Cobra Kai stands on its own merits as well.
Can A New Karate Kid Movie Really Work Without Cobra Kai Connections?
While reboots can succeed on their own, it’s unlikely that the new Karate Kid movie will reach its full potential without Cobra Kai. The new Karate Kid movie needs to bring its own ideas to the table, but it would be much more satisfying if it also connected to the larger Karate Kid/Cobra Kai saga. The creators of Cobra Kai took a great deal of inspiration from the original Karate Kid films, working in existing characters and plot lines whenever it made sense for the story. This helped to craft some of Cobra Kai’s best ideas, and it makes the show and movies feel like one big Karate Kid universe.
Look no further than The Karate Kid (2010) reboot starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. It certainly followed the structure of the original film, but that clearly wasn’t enough, as no sequels or spinoffs ever came out of it. If the new Karate Kid movie wants to endure longer, and win over fans old and new, then it must learn from the reboot which has already succeeded. As it stands, ignoring Cobra Kai is a massive insult on the new Karate Kid movie’s part.