With the stakes mounting in the upcoming season four of Cobra Kai, it seems like one other facet of The Karate Kid franchise that's often alluded to, but never fully explored is the past of Nariyoshi Miyagi, played by the late Pat Morita. As more of the past is explored with the likes of Martin Kove's John Kreese and returning villain of Part 3's Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), it seems to me we should have at least a dedicated arc to Mr. Miyagi's past since his prized student Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) seemed to scratch the surface more on Miyagi-Do karate that was passed down to him by Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) in season three. Here's what I feel a dedicated arc and possible spinoff can achieve in the greater paradigm of the Karate Kid franchise.
It Gives Cobra Kai Another Element to Miyagi
Make no mistake, there's no replacing Morita's Miyagi for what he's done in The Karate Kid franchise. Also, let's keep in mind the actor was over 50 when originally cast in the role. A younger Asian actor could bring more context and layering to Nariyoshi from the context of his family to his war service. There are tons of life lessons that he learned over the years that helped shaped his mentoring of Daniel from why he chose what he decided to pass down to his students, the trauma from growing up and from his service that helped shaped his wisdom, and also the natural curiosity that comes from exploring such a revered character's past in his youth.
Another aspect a young Miaygi series can provide is the social value of seeing a mid-20th century American story of an Asian-American succeeding during a time of adversity among racial prejudice. For inspiration, think of what the series The CW's Kung Fu is trying to be in contemporary times, but dial it back about 50-60 years. Yes, I'm aware of the irony of the time chosen with the original Wild West setting of the original 70s series starring David Carradine. I'm hoping in season four of Cobra Kai they go the young Miyagi route and if they do touch on it, think of a prequel spin-off.
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