In the 1984 martial arts film The Karate Kid, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) moves to the San Fernando Valley and soon meets Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue). He takes an instant liking to the West Valley High School student and begins to pursue her. This causes her ex-boyfriend Johnny Lawrence (William “Billy” Zabka), who is a skilled martial artist, to bully him. In response to the harassment, Daniel seeks out the help of Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) to learn karate. Eventually, the Cobra Kai student and Daniel compete against each other at the 1984 All Valley Tournament. Unfortunately for Johnny, Daniel comes out victorious.
The acclaimed series Cobra Kai takes place 34 years after the 1984 All Valley. Even though Johnny and Daniel are both in their 50s, they still resent each other and are constantly at odds. However, at the end of Season 3, the martial artists decide to join their dojos to defeat Cobra Kai, owned by ruthless sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove), at the upcoming All Valley tournament.
Ralph Macchio Discussed Daniel & Johnny’s Alliance
During a January interview with Men’s Health, Ralph Macchio discussed what fans can expect from Johnny and Daniel in the upcoming season. He noted at the time of the interview that Cobra Kai Season 4 was “being worked out and written,” meaning that he could not provide too many details about it. However, he did note the first scene from the upcoming season will be the same as the last scene from the Season 3 finale, where Johnny and Daniel teach their first karate lesson together at the Miyagi-Do dojo.
“I can only tease that where it ends, it starts. It’s basically a match-cut from the end. That’s the plan as of now,” explained the actor.
He also suggested that despite their alliance, Johnny and Daniel will still have a turbulent relationship. He told the publication:
We talk about the Ross and Rachel of our show being Daniel and Johnny—you love them together but you love it when they’re at each other’s throats, and you’ve got to keep that ball up in the air.
Macchio Commented On the Character’s Teaching Styles
The 59-year-old also talked about how the former rivals have a distinct teaching style, which will likely cause them to clash. He noted that Johnny is “a lot more aggressive” when instructing his students than Daniel. However, Macchio asserted that the characters share quite a few similarities, so they should be able to make it work.
“It will be interesting. And hopefully they learn a bit from each other. They’re different but same. That’s a Miyagi saying, but it’s true, they’re different but same,” said the actor. “If Daniel and Johnny had had different senseis, they would have gone down opposite paths, and I think that’s what’s clever about the show. And in Season 4, the stakes have been laid out, it’s going to be all about the All Valley tournament, so once again we’re bringing it right back to The Karate Kid.”
To see more of Macchio and Zabka, be sure to watch Cobra Kai, available on Netflix.