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Trivia / Cobra Kai

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  • Acting in the Dark: Jacob Bertrand had no idea about Eli's transformation into Hawk when he was auditioning for the show. He was under the impression he was to be playing a simple bullying victim.
  • Approval of God: Prior actors in the franchise Tamlyn Tomita (Kumiko from Part 2), Yuji Okomoto (Chozen from Part 2), Robyn Lively (Jessica from Part 3), Sean Kanan (Mike Barnes from Part 3), Thomas Ian Griffith (Terry Silver from Part 3), and Hilary Swank (Julie from Next) all praised the first season and said they'd like to be on the show at some point, with Swank in particular noting she'd love for Miyagi's two students to actually meet and maybe even have a showdown. Tomita and Okomoto ultimately reprised their roles in the third season.
  • Ascended Fanon: Over the years, many Karate Kid fans have joked that Daniel was the real villain of the first movie, while Johnny was mostly just defending himself and/or retaliating to Daniel's antics (for example, there's this take on Daniel's actions from J. Matthew Turner). In this series, it's shown that that's exactly how Johnny sees the events. The series doesn't cast either man as a simple villain, but shows that both are flawed and often blinded by their own assumptions, and who's the hero is often a matter of perspective.
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  • Breakthrough Hit: The series proved to be this for YouTube Red, becoming its first show to outperform Netflix and Hulu. However, it wound up proving to be the service's only hit and the company decided to shift their business away from scripted content as a result. Starting at late August 2020, Cobra Kai is now streaming on Netflix and became even more popular.
  • California Doubling: Inverted, for at least season 1. Though the series is set in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, most of the filming was done in Atlanta, Georgia. (This is most evident during the scene where Daniel visits Mr. Miyagi's grave. Autumn leaves are all over the ground, whereas Southern California effectively has only two seasons—"warm" and "very warm"; also, attentive Southern US viewers may notice that the pasta salad that Amanda offers Lucille is from Publix, a grocery store chain that has no locations further west than Alabama). Only a handful of scenes were filmed in Los Angeles, mostly distinctive landmarks and locations previously established in The Karate Kid.
    • An inversion as well for Season 3. Most of the scenes set in Japan were done there when Daniel traveled to Okinawa.
  • Cast the Expert: The actor who plays Xander in Season 1 is a stunt actor and choreographer. And Owen Morgan, who plays Bert is the only member of the cast who holds a black belt in karate, earned in 2019.
  • Channel Hop: After the third season was ordered, YouTube decided to shift their business away from producing scripted series and announced they would not pick up any new seasons thereafter. This led to the creators taking the show to Netflix and the service added the series to its library in August 2020.
  • The Character Died with Him:
    • As Pat Morita passed away in 2005, Mr. Miyagi has also passed away in the series. Miyagi's gravestone says he died in 2011, six years after Morita, likely so that Daniel's daughter Sam could have at least some memories of him.
    • Zig-Zagged with Rob Garrison who passed away in 2019 of cancer not long after Season 2 when his own character passed away in the show before him. The first episode of Season 3 is dedicated to his memory.
    • This also counts for Sato Toguchi and Yukie from the second film, their actors Danny Kamekona and Nobu McCarthy having passed away in 1996 and 2002 respectively. Both characters are mentioned to have died when Daniel visits Okinawa in season 3.
  • Character Outlives Actor: Mr. Miyagi lived until 2011, six years after Morita's passing in 2005.
  • Character-Specific Pages:
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  • The Danza: Nathaniel Oh plays a character named Nathaniel.
  • Dawson Casting: At first, it was largely avoided with the main teenage characters - Xolo Mariduena (Miguel) was 16 as of season 1 and his character was maybe a year younger at most. However, as the events of the series moved slower than real time during production, the gaps between the characters and their actors began to grow. By Season 3, most of the actors were in their late teens and early twenties while their characters only aged one year.
    • The age differences of legacy characters and their actors are carried forward, so Ralph Macchio and William Zabka are older than their characters by 5 years and 2 years, respectively.
    • Mary Mouser was 22 when she played 16 year old Sam in Season 1.
  • Deleted Scene: One of Johnny trying to get students from a local Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school (and Hilarity Ensues) was cut from the show proper but later uploaded online.
  • Follow the Leader: The success of this series led to more studios creating distant Sequel Series to beloved films that depict the original protagonists as the antagonists, such as Disney+ and their The Mighty Ducks series.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Courtney Henggeler gave birth to her second child in March of 2019, which means that she was pregnant during Season 2's shooting. One scene shows a flashback of her pregnancy with Sam, but other scenes have the actress holding her coat in front of her and sitting or standing behind scenery.
  • In Memoriam:
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Owen Morgan, who plays the weakest Cobra Kai, Bert, is an actual black belt in karate.
  • Killer App: The show's first season gathered high acclaim within a few days of being released (to the point that a second season was confirmed before the first week was over) and made many people more accepting of the YouTube Red service overall.
  • Meme Acknowledgement: The third season opener has the LaRusso's attend a PTA meeting dealing with the fallout from the brawl from the Second Season. Daniel tries to defend the practice of karate by stating it helped him deal with getting bullied when he was in school. One of the parents dismiss this by saying "I heard you were the real bully!"
  • No Export for You: While the show was a Youtube Red exclusive, it remained inaccessible (outside of a few free episodes) to a significant chunk of the world who couldn't get YouTube Red, which included a considerable swathe of Asia, East Europe, Africa and South America. Its transition to Netflix made the show available worldwide.
  • Role Reprise:
    • After 34 years, William Zabka and Ralph Macchio take on the roles that made them stars (Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso, respectively). Also returning is Randee Heller as Daniel LaRusso's mother and Martin Kove as John Kreese.
    • Several Cobra Kai members get a single episode to reunite in the second season.
    • Season 3 sees the return of Kumiko and Chozen Toguchi, once again portrayed by Tamlyn Tomita and Yuji Okumoto. Even Traci Toguchi, the girl Daniel saved during the second film's hurricane, returns for a brief scene. Elisabeth Shue also appears as Ali for two episodes at the end.
  • Schedule Slip: Season 3 was initially slated for a 2020 release, but was pushed back to January 1, 2021 for unspecified reasons (more than likely due to the sudden switch to Netflix and the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • Sequel Gap: Discounting the 2010 remake which has no ties to the original canon, the last film in the series was released in 1994, and the last film featuring Daniel LaRusso and the Cobra Kai dojo storyline was released in 1989. This series is set and premiered in 2018, twenty-four and twenty-nine years later respectively.
  • Sequel in Another Medium: A streaming series that is the sequel to a film franchise.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: The big fight in the final episode of Season 3 was supposed to take place in the Miyagi-Do dojo, but scheduling conflicts and weather forced its move to the LaRusso house. The creators of the show acknowledged that this made the fight Darker and Edgier:
    Hayden Schlossberg: Now it's a home invasion. It begs the question with the police and all of that. I would love to see how that shapes up next season.
  • Throw It In!: Mary Mouser, in a YouTube video, revealed that she was talking about the "s'mores" scene and her boyfriend said making s'mores with a peanut butter cup was "Kinda genius. It's a Sa'more!" She told this to the directors and they loved it enough to use the line.
  • Vindicated by Reruns: Though the show had a sizable fanbase after it debuted on YouTube Red, it was bottlenecked by the platform's limited subscriber base (which Google never released figures for, but may have been as few as 1.5 million subscribers). When the show debuted to a much larger audience on Netflix in 2020 it became one of the most streamed shows of the year, many of whom were likely unaware it was a two-year-old show imported from another service.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Chad McQueen was supposed to reprise his role of Dutch in the same episode as the other original Cobra Kais, but his commitments to his racing company prevented this.
    • There were plans for Rob Garrison to return as Tommy in season three (presumably in flashback or dream sequences given Tommy's onscreen death), but sadly he passed away before production.
    • Had Elisabeth Shue not agreed to return in season three, it would have been revealed that the Facebook message Johnny received from Ali was actually sent by her husband.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: The tease of Ali's return at the end of Season 2 was made before they actually talked to Elisabeth Shue and found she was willing to return to the role.
  • Written by Cast Member: Of a sort. The showrunners allowed the actors a lot of input into how their characters had changed since the events of the original films, along with fleshing out their backstories.
    • Most of Johnny's backstory (having an abusive home life and seeing Kreese as a father figure), was created by William Zabka himself during the first film as a way to get a better feel for the character. This backstory was integrated with the series and is now officially canon.
    • Martin Kove, similarly, long ago developed the idea that Kreese was a Shell-Shocked Veteran whose wartime experiences traumatized him into cruelty. This was adopted in the show's third season, which focuses heavily on Kreese's Start of Darkness.
    • Tamlyn Tomita worked with the creators to offer a more accurate depiction of Okinawa than Part 2, helping to translate script passages into Okinawan dialect and choreographing Kumiko's dance scene.
    • Yuji Okomoto had a long phone conversation with Josh Heald soon after he was cast, where he offered suggestions about Chozen's Character Development since Part 2. He was surprised and flattered at how many of his ideas made it into the show.
  • Word of God: Josh Heald confirmed that even though Aisha was Put on a Bus in season three, it's likely the character will return in the future.


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