From movie to TV show … and now back to a movie again.
In announcing a series of changes to their upcoming release calendar, Sony added a surprising title to their roster of movies in development: A new film in The Karate Kid series, which they described as the “return of the original Karate Kid franchise.” The film is scheduled to open in theaters on June 7, 2024.
The news is particularly unexpected because the original Karate Kid franchise has found new life on Netflix as Cobra Kai, a TV series that continues the story of the old trilogy of movies about plucky underdog karate champ Daniel LaRusso some 30 years after the events of the old films. Decades later, Daniel is now a wealthy businessman and his old karate rival and bully, Johnny Lawrence, is a washed-up loser who restarts the Cobra Kai dojo to get some purpose back in his life. The series’ fifth season recently premiered on Netflix.
Thus far, Netflix has not officially announced a sixth season of the show, and this news could have something to do with it. Sony’s announcement did not mention any filmmakers or stars, or provide a detailed synopsis, but calling it the return of the original Karate Kid franchise would have to mean Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, and assorted other characters from the Cobra Kai series. (Unless it’s a reboot of the concept with a new cast?) Cobra Kai does seem headed toward a big finale; it’s possible a Karate Kid movie could conclude all of the show’s various storylines.
If it happens, it will be the sixth film in the franchise, following three Karate Kids with Macchio and Pat Morita as his karate teacher, Mr. Miyagi. After Macchio aged out of the franchise, Morita then made The Next Karate Kid, which starred a young Hilary Swank as his new student. A few years later, there was a reboot that starred Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan in the role of the older martial arts master. The first season of Cobra Kai followed in 2018. (Morita passed away 2005, but Mr. Miyagi is referenced constantly on the show.)
All five seasons of Cobra Kai are streaming now on Netflix.
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