Cobra Kai co-creator Hayden Schlossberg talks season 5 and explains the Karate Kid connections that inform the show’s writing.
Cobra Kai season 5’s The Karate Kid connections are explained by the show’s co-creator Hayden Schlossberg. Cobra Kai season 4 streamed on Netflix beginning on December 31, 2021 and was another huge win for the streamer. The wait for season 5 will thankfully be a short one as Cobra Kai is set to return to Netflix in September 2022.
Cobra Kai of course draws its inspiration from the 1984 hit film The Karate Kid and its sequels. But far from just rehashing the movies, the Netflix show indeed expands upon the world introduced all those years ago by director John G. Avilden’s feel-good underdog movie. Part of that expansion of course involves exploring a new generation of characters who are introduced to karate by the original movie’s rivals Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). It also involves those same young characters getting wrapped up in old grudges while simultaneously trying to find their own way in the world, creating conflicts that are inevitably worked out via epic karate matches.
Whether those karate matches take place in school, on the streets or in actual rules-governed tournaments, Cobra Kai continues to mix martial arts and life lessons in audience-pleasing ways. Speaking recently to Variety About how the show manages to achieve its unique blend of elements, co-creator Schlossberg got into how he and the writers execute the tightrope act of making something new while still paying tribute to the original Karate Kid. Schlossberg says it’s “fun” to expand the universe by bringing in new characters but he and his fellow writers always start out by returning to the story’s origins. ,The Bonsai tree grows,” Schlossberg said by way of analogy. He went on:
But the roots are, it’s bullying, it’s mentors, it’s overcoming things, it’s dealing with the past, it’s that visceral feeling of feeling weak and then somebody gives you something. And in the show it’s karate, but in life it could be a million different things that changes you and makes you a new person and gives you confidence. … But at the core of it is what I fell in love with the Karate Kid, why it’s a classic. It’s the different cultures meeting. People that you wouldn’t expect to be connecting, connecting. And so every year we’re like, OK let’s forget everything for a second and go back to the Karate Kid. Why do we love this? We watch the movie again. And that’s why I think it’s worked on a global level. Because they’re universal stories. And so we try to focus on that while taking advantage of different characters, genders, backgrounds, and play things out so that it feels like The Karate Kid but it’s something totally different.
Of course sometimes Cobra Kai‘s connections to The Karate Kid are a lot more direct than the thematic ties Schlossberg refers to. Obviously there are the holdover characters like LaRusso, Lawrence, John Kreese (Martin Kove) and others. There’s also a love of 1980s pop culture as embodied by the musical tastes of Johnny Lawrence, who in some ways seems stuck in high school. There’s also the looming ghost of Pat Morita’s Mr. Miyagi, whose philosophy continues to inform Daniel and by extension everything that happens in Cobra Kai‘s story.
Obviously there’s a difference between drawing on something for inspiration and merely imitating it. Cobra Kai Thus far has done an admirable job of keeping the spirit of The Karate Kid alive while establishing something new. Clearly the writers are cognizant of needing to return to the source material at the beginning of each season in order to keep themselves grounded in what that original Karate Kid was all about. But there’s also a commitment to letting the Bonsai tree grow through the exploration of new characters from differing backgrounds. The story will continue when Cobra Kai season 5 drops on Netflix on September 9, 2022.
More: Cobra Kai Season 5 Is Already Fixing Miguel’s Biggest S4 Problem
Who Is Neil Patrick Harris Playing In Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary?
About The Author