Cobra Kai Stars Debate Who the Real Villain Is: Daniel LaRusso or Johnny Lawrence?

Since hitting Netflix a few weeks ago, Cobra Kai has been a huge hit for the streaming giant. The sequel series’ unique approach sees The Karate Kid baddie, Johnny Lawrence, as the protagonist, flipping certain story beats from the beloved 80s movie on their heads. The series has started a debate over who the real villain of The Karate Kid world is, and now, onscreen adversaries Ralph Macchio and William Zabka have weighed in.

William Zabka makes the fair point that, while Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso was mostly courteous upon their reunion at the start of the series, he was very “prickly” and could not help but partake in some light bragging regarding the pair’s competitive past. Ultimately though, Zabka could not decide who the real bad guy is between Daniel and Johnny, instead deciding to leave it up to the viewer to decide.

RELATED: Cobra Kai Season 3 Details Reveal Big Karate Kid 2 Connection & Miyagi-Do Origins

“As far as the ultimate “who’s the bad, who’s the good guy,” I’m way too close to it to make that decision. So that really is up to the fans and the viewers and it’s individual to look at it.”

Ralph Macchio agreed, believing the issue to be much more nuanced than you might think, and concluding that the audience’s allegiance flipping back-and-forth is what makes the franchise so interesting.

“They both are, at times, the bad, and they’re both, at times, the guy you’re rooting for. And that’s why it’s awesome.”

Set 34 years after the first Karate Kid movie, Cobra Kai re-examines the narrative from Daniel’s rival, Johnny Lawrence’s point of view. Now a struggling alcoholic, Johnny decides to reopen the Cobra Kai karate dojo, leading to the rekindling of his old rivalry with Daniel LaRusso.

A third season of the popular series is now on the way, with the recent confirmation that it will not be delayed due to the ongoing global situation. Thankfully, the series was able to wrap production and get everything necessary finished before the entertainment industry was put on indefinite hiatus some months ago. Showrunner Josh Heald said, “Thankfully with season 3, we wrapped production before the end of 2019, and we wrapped post-production… I think there was a little bit of overlap.” He also noted that, “we finished our final mix, the last big piece of post-production in person.”

Macchio has teased a return to Okinawa for the third season, suggesting that there will be a link to 1986’s The Karate Kid Part II. “I have been to Okinawa for some shooting of Cobra Kai season 3, which I cannot talk too much about,” Macchio revealed. “But I can say it dives into the origin of Miyagi-Do Karate. We learn a little bit, some secrets of past history that is new to the audience, and to LaRusso, my character, and we actually went to Okinawa to shoot.”

Cobra Kai sees the return of both Ralph Macchio as Daniel and William Zabka as Johnny. The series also stars Courtney Henggeler, Xolo Maridueña, Tanner Buchanan, Mary Mouser, Jacob Bertrand, Gianni Decenzo, Vanessa Rubio, Peyton List, and Martin Kove. The series was created by Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald. Seasons 1 and 2 of Cobra Kai are now available on Netflix, with the third season due to land on the streaming service sometime in 2021. This comes to us from Netflix YouTube channel.

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Jon Fuge at Movieweb

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