It's hard to argue how Netflix's Cobra Kai met and exceeded all expectations when it initially premiered on YouTube before settling into its new home for season three. You can even make the case that it's superior to The Karate Kid films that preceded it. While the TV series initially started out with the original rivals from the 1984 film with Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso and their original actors reprising their respective roles in William Zabka and Ralph Macchio, it not only expanded their stories as a true sequel in addition to the new characters but also brought the various familiar faces from the first three films in more than glorified cameos. While promoting their latest Hulu comedy Plan B, creators and showrunners Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald spoke to Collider about what's to come in season four and what the future holds for Cobra Kai.
When it comes to planning the series, the showrunners often play it by ear season-by-season. "We've always had a set end game, as to where the story's going, but we've said from the beginning that we weren't sure exactly how many seasons it'll take to get there," Hurwitz said. "We found, even in season one when we were in the writers' room, there were so many ideas that we had that just didn't fit into those five hours in the first season, so they ended up getting pushed to the next season. There are ideas that we talked about at the beginning of the show, that showed up in season three or will show up in season four. And then, there are ideas that just fall by the wayside. There's no added pressure to elongate the series. We're still having a blast making it. There's still a lot more story to tell, in our minds. We just finished shooting season 4 and we have a lot more that we're excited to do, going forward. So, we can't tell you exactly how many seasons we're going to have, but we know that we're going to enter each season with enthusiasm and confidence. Eventually, we'll talk to our friends at Sony and Netflix and say, "We think this is probably around the time we should be winding it down," and hopefully they'll give us that time to do it. We'll see."
Schlossberg keeps it open-ended when it comes to having Cobra Kai become a platform to tell different character stories. "The show itself is, in some ways, a spin-off," he said. "We're talking Johnny's life and his POV. It's one of those things where we think about it all the time, in some ways. With every character, you think of what their backstory is. When Jon says we don't know how many more seasons are left of the show, part of it is that we think every character has a lot of story to tell. Is that something that would be a part of the Cobra Kai story, or is it something where somebody deserves their own story? These are all things that we talk about. We love this universe and love the idea of playing with it. Everything is possible."
Heald offered a little tease on what to look for in season four. "All we can say is that they've made the arrangement they've made. They know that they're headed toward this tournament and they know that scores will be settled there. That look they gave each other at the end of season three says it all. We're leaning in, and these are two guys who have been leaning way away from each other for 30-something years. The big story to tell is, how is that going to go? Will there be growing pains? What will they be like? Will they be able to get over themselves and get over the ax to grind that they both had? And will they be able to achieve that, before the tournament gets here? So, there are lots of new wrenches to throw at them and lots of old grudges to rehash, and it's all happening in a little bit of a shared space." Cobra Kai is available to stream on Netflix. Season four premieres in late 2021.
And since you're here…
BCTV Daily Dispatch: For a look at what's going on across the television and streaming landscape, sign up for Bleeding Cool's daily email round-up of the news you need to know here.