Okay, before we get into how Cobra Kai fans should be thanking the fine folks behind Amazon Prime's The Boys for their part in making sure that return during the third season of the "Karate Kid" sequel series happened? Obviously, we have to throw on the "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" sign and offer a spoiler image buffer because there's just no way to get around dropping some major intel on the William Zabka and Ralph Macchio-starring series. So if you don't want things spoiled, punch out now. Otherwise, see you on the other side:
Though it was teased in the second season finale, Elisabeth Shue's return to the franchise as Ali Mills was still an amazing moment- serving as that important but missing element that Johnny (Zabka) and Daniel (Macchio) needed to move beyond their pasts (especially if they want to take down Martin Kove's Kreese). During an interview with EW, Shue explains how working on The Boys gave her a better understanding of how much the film meant to so many- and how it would be "devastating" if she didn't return to the role.
"It all started when I was working on 'The Boys.' I was working with this wonderful director, Dan Trachtenberg, who directed the pilot for 'The Boys.' To be honest, I really hadn't thought about being on 'Cobra Kai,'" Shue explained. "When I showed up on the set [of 'The Boys'] for the first day, Dan came right over and said, 'You're doing Cobra Kai, right?' I was like, 'What? I don't know… Do you think that's a good idea?' He goes, 'Is that a good idea? You have to be on Cobra Kai!' I said, 'Why, why do you care so much?' He said, 'You have no idea how important The Karate Kid is in my life.'
Trachtenberg didn't hold back his thoughts on the matter- and it apparently had an influence. "He told me what a great movie it is and how much he loved 'Cobra Kai,' and that it would just be devastating — 'devastating,' he kept saying — for the fans and for the memory of The Karate Kid if I wasn't [on the show]. I was like, 'Whoa – okay!' It was just very sweet, and it made me think, Oh, I haven't really investigated this," said Shue. "Then I sat down with the three producers and writers who created it, Jon [Hurwitz], Josh [Heald], and Hayden [Schlossberg], and they were so lovely and similar to Dan — super Karate Kid fans. They really wanted to wait and have Ali come back this season, primarily I guess because it's a reunion season. I said, 'I'll do whatever you need.'"
Oh, and in case any of you out there would dare doubt the validity of that story? The Boys showrunner/EP Eric Kripke was there and can verify:
— Eric Kripke (@therealKripke) January 3, 2021