Cobra Kai already had children of the ’80s and fans of the Karate Kid franchise on lock from its first trailer. Nobody expected the Karate Kid sequel series to be the phenomenon it was. The first season still has a 100% Tomatometer score, and we even suggested it deserved an Emmy.
William Zabka returned in the role of Johnny Lawrence, now down and out 30 years after his loss to “Karate Kid” Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) at the All Valley Karate Tournament. Johnny reopens dojo Cobra Kai, which brings back painful memories for Daniel and brings out the less heroic sides of his character.
Now that we know how good Cobra Kai is, the wait for season 2 is even harder than the wait for the first. To tide us over until its return, we went digging for some scoop on what’s coming up.
SPOILER ALERT: THIS ARTICLE REVEALS DETAILS FROM SEASON 1 OF COBRA KAI, INCLUDING THE SEASON FINALE.
Season 1 of Cobra Kai ended with Johnny’s student Miguel (Xolo Mariduena) defeating Johnny’s own son Robby (Tanner Buchanan) by fighting dirty, meaning Johnny will certainly have to confront what he’s actually teaching his students. To make matters worse, his old sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove) will show up in the dojo, and Daniel’s daughter Samantha (Mary Mouser) will start practicing karate.
Susanne Daniels, global head of original programming for YouTube, spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about Cobra Kai‘s success and what’s to come in its new season. Below, find everything we know so far about the upcoming episodes.
John Kreese was a big question mark in the story of Cobra Kai, and viewers believed Johnny when he told the All Valley Tournament board that Kreese had died. Once he showed up to surprise everyone in the season finale, fans couldn’t wait to see Kove join the cast on a more permanent basis.
Kove is officially signed on for the second season, and while Daniels told Rotten Tomatoes he would not be in every single episode, he will have a substantial role in the show.
“It’s not 100 percent confirmed, but it looks like seven out of 10 [episodes],” she said.
Since appearing in the finale, Kove spilled a few details to reporters, including telling Syfy Wire that viewers might get to see a softer side of John Kreese.
“Maybe he won’t be so dark, but he’ll still be on another agenda,” Kove told the outlet. “How interesting it’d be if he has another side to him that is equally as effective: a vulnerable side that maybe might turn just as dangerous.”
The trailers previewed Cobra Kai as a comedy, playing up how funny it would be to see Johnny all washed up and Daniel as a hammy used car huckster. The pedigree of creators Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold and Kumar franchise, American Reunion) and Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine) seemed to underscore that fact.
Early episodes certainly had their laughs, but then a funny thing happened. By the end, viewers were invested in the characters — not just Johnny and Daniel, but the new karate kids in high school as well. Their drama was real, and Daniels confirmed that season 2 kicks off in dramatic territory too.
“From having heard the season 2 arc pitch, they will delve right into the drama of it all right away,” Daniels said. “In season 1, it built towards the intensity. Season 2 picks right up on that. “
Samantha LaRusso’s father has already become a sensei to Robby (not knowing he was Johnny’s son), and Daniels confirmed to Rotten Tomatoes that Daniel will become his daughter’s own Mr. Miyagi in the second season. Will Daniel get his Rocky III-style private rematch with Johnny? Daniels wouldn’t say.
Johnny and Daniel are all grown up now, but Cobra Kai expanded the world of The Karate Kid by introducing students who sign up for Cobra Kai classes. They bring a modern perspective of social media and dating pressures to the show, and their storylines will continue in tandem with Daniel and Johnny’s. But they won’t pull focus from the adult stars.
“I think [season 2 will have] a similar dynamic where they will definitely have their own storylines and remain an important aspect of the show,” Daniels said, “but I think the main rivalry will between our leads, Ralph Macchio and Billy Zabka.”
Cobra Kai was renewed the same week it premiered on YouTube Premium. By getting the green light right away, the creators were able to get to work on season 2 immediately, and Daniels confirmed in July that writing and preproduction were well underway.
Daniels also told reporters in July that part of the pre-production on season 2 involved casting, which means there will definitely be some important new characters for fans to meet and begin rooting for (and against).
Once Cobra Kai has a Golden Globe, surely the Emmys will want to be cool and acknowledge the acclaimed show everyone’s talking about, right?
“That’s what I’m hoping,” Daniels said.
As fast as Daniels gave season 2 the green light, there was just no possible way production could be completed in order to release another season on YouTube Premium before the end of 2018. The earliest we can expect season 2 is 2019; however, there’s still no word on whether the show will premiere in May, when the first season did, or perhaps even earlier. Patience is one of the virtues Miyagi Karate teaches, so it’ll be worth the wait.
Cobra Kai season 1 is now streaming on YouTube Premium.