- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2017

There’s little doubt that cries of “sweep the leg!” and “get him a body bag!” will be echoing across the Twittersphere next year when “The Karate Kid” reunion series “Cobra Kai” bows on YouTube Red.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 10-episode revival will see Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprise their respective roles of transplanted Jersey boy Daniel LaRusso and bully Johnny Lawrence — but now three decades removed from their San Fernando Valley rivalry and climactic karate tournament.

Plot details on “Cobra Kai” are slim at present, with The Hollywood Reporter saying only that Johnny will reopen the Cobra Kai dojo, which leads to a renewed conflict with Daniel, who is struggling after the death of his mentor, Kesuke Miyagi (the late Pat Morita).

But who, if anyone, will be Daniel’s love interest in the new series? Elisabeth Shue won Daniel’s heart in the original 1984 film as the Valley Girl Ali Mills — who also happened to be Johnny’s ex.

When asked by The Washington Times if “Ali with an I” would be back for “Cobra Kai,” Miss Shue would only chuckle.

“I don’t know. I don’t know,” she said. “I feel like Ali was definitely a part of their past, but I have to wonder if she really is a part of their future.”

In 1986’s “Part II,” Daniel and Mr. Miyagi travel to Okinawa to visit Mr. Miyagi’s ailing father. While there, Miyagi reignites a romance with his old flame Yukie (Nobu McCarthy), which draws the ire of Miyagi’s former best friend and rival for Yukie’s affections, Sato (Danny Kamekona).

Meanwhile, Daniel, now single after a only-mentioned breakup with Ali, feels stirrings for young Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita).

“It’s something we created together, and we’re iconic figures in some people’s minds, [so] of course we’re hopeful,” Miss Tomita told The Times of potentially returning for a “Cobra” cameo.

Miss Tomita, who currently stars on the ABC drama “The Good Doctor,” shared that she recently dined in Seattle with Yuji Okumoto, the actor who portrayed Chozen Toguchi, who challenged Daniel to a violent duel at the end of “Part II.”

“We were joking [that] we better be in there,” Miss Tomita, whose show films in Vancouver, said of her meal with Mr. Okumoto in nearby Seattle.

One way to accomplish this, she said, might be to fashion an “alternative reality” where “Chozen and Kumiko got together, and they [appear] in the last episode” of “Cobra Kai.”

In 1989’s “The Karate Kid Part III,” Daniel and Miyagi return to Los Angeles, where the disgraced Cobra Kai head sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove) plots revenge against the teacher and student who humiliated him in the first film. Kreese is helped along in his vengeful quest by a Vietnam War buddy, Terry Silver, played by Thomas Ian Griffith. (In a bit of a headscratcher, Mr. Griffith, who was supposed to be a contemporary of Kreese, is in real life 18 years younger than Mr. Kove and one year younger than Mr. Macchio, who was, at the time, somehow still playing a teenager.)

It is mentioned at the outset of “Part III” that Kumiko has found a dance studio in Tokyo and thus will not be coming to America. Instead, Daniel and Miyagi open up a bonsai shop, across the street from which is a pottery studio that employs Jessica Andrews (Robyn Lively). Because plot consistency is sometimes required, Daniel asks Jessica out on a date. She agrees, but tells Daniel she in fact has an estranged boyfriend, thereby keeping the relationship platonic.

The IMDB reports that Mr. Macchio requested their doings be nonromantic given that Mr. Macchio had married in 1987 and “didn’t want his wife to be jealous.”

Several attempts to reach Miss Lively for comment on Jessica’s possible return to “The Karate Kid” universe were unsuccessful.

“We just wish Ralph and Billy the best. They’re really great people and they’re great storytellers,” Miss Tomita said. “Hopefully they’ll have a great run of success with it.”

While Miss Tomita remains optimistic that Kumiko and “everybody” from the series — including from 1994’s “The Next Karate Kid,” starring future Oscar winner Hilary Swank — will find a way to be incorporated into the storyline of “Cobra Kai,” Miss Shue is somewhat less sanguine about Ali’s return.

“I don’t think it would be authentic to put her into the future of that world,” she said. “I think she might just need to live in the memory of [Daniel’s] past.”

Entertainment Editor Eric Althoff holds a third-degree black belt in Isshinryu Karate. He was inspired to study the martial arts by “The Karate Kid” films.

• Eric Althoff can be reached at twt@washingtontimes.com.

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