SDCC 2019: 'Cobra Kai' Star Ralph Macchio Revives Miyagi's Presence With Season 3 Visit to Okinawa

YouTube sensation, Cobra Kai might not be returning for its third season until 2020, but as PopCulture.com’s sister site, ComicBook.com reports from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the next episodes will be reviving the presence of Mr. Miyagi with a major callback to The Karate Kid II.

As reported from the show’s panel on Thursday by ComicBook.com, showrunner Josh Heald revealed Daniel LaRusso played by Ralph Macchio, will be revisiting Okinawa, Japan in the highly anticipated third season — the original setting for the iconic film franchise’s 1986 sequel, which saw Daniel’s mentor, Miyagi returning home and bringing the young protégé with him.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly after news broke of the Season 3 revelation, Macchio explained how after the events of Season 2 that left a few characters’ lives hanging in the balance, the show has a lot of “cleaning up to do.”

“Some of the stories [in Season 3] will dive into the origins of both Miyagi-Do Karate and Cobra Kai,” Macchio explained to EW. “Like, the beginnings of those two forms of martial arts, and we’ll learn stuff about both that we never knew. And that includes LaRusso going to Okinawa, which is a piece of season 3.”

In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com earlier this summer, Macchio explained that maintaining the presence of the franchise’s beloved mentor figure, Mr. Miyagi, portrayed by the late Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, was a real “deal-breaker” for him upon taking part in the successful revival.

“[The showrunners] knew that it was so important to me,” Macchio told PopCulture.com at the time. “It was a deal-breaker for me deciding to jump in to do the show.”

While Macchio discloses he knew the concept for the series focused on his rival, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) at first, his interest piqued in its unique direction the story would dive into while preserving an equilibrium between Johnny and Daniel.

“There was a promise that there was going to be a balance, if you will, between these two characters and their two worlds,” he said. “That was just something that I said is so important to me, [and] how that legacy would be woven through.”

The 57-year-old actor went on to tell PopCulture.com that the Okinawan philosophies, martial arts, and all the “Miyagi-isms” that influenced his character in the ‘80s franchise and still do by the end of Season 2 in Cobra Kai, played a big role in honoring the karate master.

“At the end of Season 2, LaRusso feels he’s failed Miyagi. Failed everything,” Macchio said. “His intentions were all good but at the end of the day, now that there’s a negative cloud, that’s where Season 3, I’m sure will pick up. How does he figure it out from there... those are real, rich things to play.”

One of the biggest questions not addressed as SDCC was if Karate Kid actress, Elizabeth Shue would finally make an appearance on the show after the events from Season 2.

As shared with PopCulture.com this past June, Macchio admits it’s something the whole cast has wondered and talked about.

“No one will confirm or deny that, but they certainly approached [her] and have questioned it,” Macchio told PopCulture.com. “We know that she really enjoyed the show and sees the quality of the show. So yeah, I think the door is open for something there.”

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Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for more from the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con International.

Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

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