Cobra Kai, which is a sequel of sorts to the Karate Kid movies, previously aired on YouTube but was acquired by Netflix this year ahead of the release of its third season.
William Zabka, who played Johnny Lawrence in the original 1984 movie and reprises his role in the series, said it’s been “amazing” to reconnect with the character.
“It’s been an amazing reconnection,” he told the New York Post .
“The Karate Kid has been a huge part of my life for all this time, and to give [Johnny] more dimension and humanity has been thrilling.
“Johnny is the polar opposite of who I really am. But in the ending scene of The Karate Kid film when he hands Danny the trophy… I thought he’s actually got a really good core.”
Zabka explained that Johnny had a tough start in life but he is “on his path to his own version of redemption” in the Cobra Kai series.
“He’s trying to figure things out and sort through his past and change and grow. That’s what’s so amazing to me about what the writers have done with the character.”
He adds: “It’s so satisfying as an actor to play someone who isn’t all good or bad.”
Cobra Kai follows rivals Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence from the original movie, who are following very different paths in life now that they’re adults.
Johnny has fallen on hard times but decides to open up his own dojo, Cobra Kai, to teach a group of bullied teens karate.
Meanwhile, Daniel has become a successful car salesman and devoted family man, but he begins to find his way back to the world of martial arts by reconnecting to the spirit of his sensei from the movies, Nariyoshi Miyagi (Pat Morita).
Cobra Kai seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream on Netflix now, with season 3 following in 2021.
Tasha Hegarty is a freelance news writer at Digital Spy.
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