12:35pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Cobra Kai' Stars Detail 'Karate Kid' TV Return (and Why They Signed On)
The Karate Kid rivalry between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence is alive and well — and will now feature a new generation.
Hours after The Hollywood Reporter exclusively broke news of YouTube Red's 10-episode Karate Kid straight-to-series sequel Cobra Kai, stars Ralph Macchio (Daniel) and William Zabka (Johnny) met the press after making a surprise appearance Friday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
The actors, who have remained friends in the 30 years since The Karate Kid became a pop culture staple, briefly appeared onstage in a faux pre-fight press conference face-off and spoke with reporters, including THR, at the conclusion of YouTube's time in front of press.
Macchio revealed that the concept for the series — which picks up 30 years after Daniel topped Johnny in the All Valley Karate Tournament to find both running rival dojos — is relevant today and speaks to a new generation. He gave credit to concept writers Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine) as well as duo Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold and Kumar) delivered in their initial pitch for Cobra Kai.
"What made me say yes after all these years — and I've been very protective of the franchise and where Daniel LaRusso sits in the world 30 years later — these guys, Josh, Hayden and Jon had such a smart and fresh angle in. It was relevant today yet had all the pop culture — they had the perfect marriage and angle in bringing it from the Johnny Lawrence [point of view]," he said. "It's not unlike how Creed was a film that was about Apollo Creed's son but you had Rocky Balboa in it in a certain way. [Cobra Kai] is not the first time anyone looks at a fresh angle from the villain's point of view, but it was just smart to go that way and to cover these dual lives and do a rivalry series in a smart and funny way, and on top of that infuse the high school world — which is a big part of the show as well — for the new generation."