To say Netflix's Cobra Kai has been a success would be an understatement and one of the biggest reasons why is how the series not only able to expand on past characters of The Karate Kid lore, but also lay the foundation for the next generation to reinforce the franchise's lasting appeal. The series could have easily retained its minimalist approach, but creators Josh Heald, Hayden Schlossberg, and Jon Hurwitz expanded Robert Mark Kamen's universe every which way keeping in mind to reward loyal fans of the franchise with keeping an eye on the future. Ralph Macchio, who played Daniel LaRusso since the 1984 original The Karate Kid, has an equal presence in its sequel series for Netflix. The actor spoke with Cinemablend about the return of a fan favorite from the original film and what would have happened if the actor couldn't commit. Consider this your major spoilers warning.
The conclusion of season two teased the return of Ali Mills, the one-time high school sweetheart of Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). During the events of the 1984 film, the two had a falling out and she fell in love with Daniel, which sparked his and Johnny's rivalry. It wasn't known at the time if Elizabeth Shue would reprise her role for Cobra Kai season three. Luckily with her role on The Boys, she found fans on set who wondered the same thing. The stars did align luckily for Cobra Kai and the rest they say is history with her role ultimately acting as the epiphany Daniel and Johnny needed to realize they're far more alike than they realize.
Building up to Ali started when Johnny started exploring Facebook and found her profile and sent her a message before she finally sent a reply at the second season's conclusion. They reconnect when she reveals she happens to be in town. She later invites Johnny to a gala her mother is hosting and bumps into the LaRussos in the process as they're members of the same club.
Macchio spoke with Cinemablend on the plan B executive producers had if Shue couldn't commit. "There was an alternate plan if she wasn't available. . . . That was the fallback, the 'how are we gonna vacuum ourselves out of the room' from what we've written, which would be her husband was doing the Facebook back-and-forth with Johnny," he said. Good thing that "what if" didn't pan out. Season three of Cobra Kai is available to stream on Netflix.