YouTube has announced that it is renewing “Cobra Kai,” which was released on YouTube Red on May 2, for a second season.
The series, a highly anticipated follow-up to the 1984 hit movie “The Karate Kid,” reunites Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso and William Zabka as his arch-rival, Johnny Lawrence.
The film won critical acclaim for its portrayal of the friendship of high schooler Daniel and his apartment maintenance man turned martial arts trainer Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), as Daniel prepares to take on Johnny in the All Valley Karate Tournament. Through Miyagi’s teaching, Daniel learns important life lessons, overcomes adversity and ultimately faces his opponent in an epic match.
An instant commercial success, the film earned an Academy Award nomination for Morita and spawned a franchise of memorabilia, three sequels, an animated television series, and a 2010 remake featuring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.
In “Cobra Kai,” Daniel, now living in the affluent hills of Encino, leads an enviable life with his beautiful family, while running a successful string of car dealerships throughout the San Fernando Valley. Meanwhile, his high school adversary, whose life has taken a rocky turn, seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo. Their lives inevitably become intertwined and the rivalry is reignited, setting forth the next generation of “karate kids.”
Despite his success, Daniel is still deeply affected by the death of Miyagi years earlier and misses his guidance. In real life, Morita passed away in 2005 and Macchio gave the eulogy at his service. Morita’s last appearance as Miyagi was in “The Next Karate Kid” (1994), which co-starred Hilary Swank instead of Macchio.
The cast of “Cobra Kai” also includes Courtney Henggeler as Amanda, Daniel’s wife; Mary Mouser as Samantha, Daniel’s daughter; Xolo Maridueña as Miguel Diaz, one of Johnny’s students; and Tanner Buchanan as Robby Keene, Johnny’s estranged son. Martin Kove makes a return appearance as Kreese, Johnny’s former sensei.
“A beloved American classic, ‘The Karate Kid’ film continues to be one of the most searched entertainment properties on YouTube,” said Susanne Daniels, global head of original content for YouTube. “We’re thrilled to recreate the world inside the dojo in this exciting new YouTube Red original series, featuring iconic cast members from the original film.”
According to YouTube, ‘Cobra Kai’ has already garnered over 20 million views for the streaming platform, and its new season will again be written and executive-produced by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg.
“This series had all of the right elements from the very beginning — compelling characters, a storied rivalry, and the talented original stars,” Daniels said of the renewal. “The way viewers have embraced the new twist on this beloved franchise has been nothing short of amazing, and we’re thrilled to partner with Sony TV, Overbrook and the extraordinary creative team led by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg to create a second season.”
Showrunners Heald, Hurwitz, and Schlossberg added, “Continuing the ‘Karate Kid’ saga with YouTube Red has been a dream come true. We are grateful to all our creative partners for giving us the freedom to revisit and expand the LaRusso/Lawrence rivalry. And we are truly exhilarated by the tidal wave of support from fans of this story, both old and new.”
Heald is the writer behind the cult classic “Hot Tub Time Machine” franchise, while Hurwitz and Schlossberg created the successful “Harold and Kumar” film series, and wrote and directed the global hit “American Reunion.” Most recently, Hurwitz and Schlossberg produced the critically lauded film “Blockers” for Universal Pictures.
According to Variety, “Cobra Kai” outperformed all of its streaming competition for the week of May 6-12, including Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” and “Arrested Development” and Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” On May 7, “Cobra Kai” also attracted more demand than another Netflix original series, “Lost in Space.”