If Don Cheadle's Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actor for his 98-second performance in Falcon and Winter Soldier wasn't bizarre enough, then perhaps Cobra Kai's nomination for Best Comedy borders on the possible absurd. The creators of the sequel series to The Karate Kid franchise in Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald, and Hayden Schlossberg spoke with Deadline Hollywood on the shocking moment and what's to come for Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio).
"We're all very excited here, it was a big surprise to us," Heald said. "We love making this show, but we also know that it's a comedy, a drama, and an action series. It's a lot of things and we don't necessarily fit into one category in the minds of some people. Our writers room is full of comedy writers. The concept of our show is taking the villain from the Karate Kid, putting him front and center, and giving him the Better Call Saul treatment where you're emotionally invested in his story. We're really grateful to Netflix and Sony, as well as our cast and crew."
How Fandom for Karate Kid Translates to Cobra Kai
Digging deeper, Heald explains it's their fandom of the franchise to explain its success. "The three of us love the Karate Kid, and I don't say that casually," he continued. "We loved it the first time we saw it when we were 6 years old and it stuck with us. We loved it when we were 6 years old and then after watching it over and over again on VHS until it became so worn down we had to record it again." "I think why our series resonates with so many is because we write for the child within us that loves these movies," Schlossberg added. "So it ends up being a show children like, which is unique for us because our backgrounds are in edgy comedy, but this show has brought us our widest appeal. I think this is because when we're writing for Cobra Kai, we're thinking about our younger selves."
When it came to filming season four, Heald explained the complications the pandemic created. "We shot during the thick of it and it was our most difficult production from the standpoint of dealing with the COVID pandemic during an already ambitious shoot. We have never been prouder of a season that we've put in the can. We've seen it and we know we've got the goods. We cannot wait for the fans of this franchise to see everything we did this season knowing everything we went through to put that into place. It's an amazing memory we'll all have knowing that it was a battle and we won."
One rivalry Hurwitz teases intensifying is between Miyagi-Do's Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser) and Cobra Kai's Tory Nichols (Peyton List). "Sam and Tory are two of our favorite characters in the series and their rivalry is a fresh one that certainly cuts to the core for both of them," he said. "We're eager for people to see how it plays out in Season 4 because there's certainly no love lost between those two at the end of Season 3 and there's a lot more between them going forward. We think it's a very special season for both those characters." On the topic of Thomas Ian Griffith's Terry Silver and his reintroduction to the Karate Kid franchise, Schlossberg offered, "People are going to have to tune in to Season 4 to find out [laughing]. For now, we'll say we've been looking forward to working with Thomas Ian Griffith for a long time and we were very patient with ourselves to find the right moment, and Season 4 is that moment." Cobra Kai returns in late 2021 on Netflix.
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