2020 hasn't been the greatest year for making television shows or movies. Production facilities have been shut down for months on end, and even those that have re-opened tend to have restrictions in place in most of the world's countries. That's meant a lot of bad news for fans who are eagerly awaiting new content from their favorite shows or films. Many of the movies we were hoping to see this year have been pushed back to 2021 or even later, like the 25th James Bond movie "No Time To Die," and the long-awaited sequel to "Top Gun." In television, the breaks between seasons have gone on longer than expected, while casts and crews have been waiting for the green light to be given for their return. Fortunately, we're now aware of one exception to the rule. The smash-hit Netflix comedy/drama "Cobra Kai," based on the classic "Karate Kid" films, will return on Friday, January 8th, 2021.
The show has had a slight advantage compared to some of the Netflix productions that have been delayed by the pandemic. Virtually all of the necessary filming for the season had already been completed by the time restrictions kicked in, which left the burden of the remaining work on those responsible for post-production. That took a little longer than expected with everybody working from home, but John Hurwitz, the showrunner of "Cobra Kai," says that the final touches to the finished product were applied at the end of September. From his point of view, the show is ready to go already, but Netflix has decided to hold onto it for a few months and make it available for streaming at the start of next year instead of the end of this one. The reasons for that decision are unknown, which is a little frustrating, but having waited this long, we can wait a little longer.
As you may have seen already, a very short teaser for the forthcoming season has already been released online. If you haven’t already seen the teaser and don’t want to see a pretty major spoiler, look away now! As you’ll remember if you’re a fan, the cliffhanger at the end of season two came when Miguel fell from a balcony, crashing down hard on his back. The credits rolled before viewers had a chance to find out how badly he was hurt, or even if he was dead or alive. We can dispel the worst of those fears. The teaser has made it clear that Miguel survived his plunge and made it to the hospital. The extent of his injuries, however, appears to be severe. He's in a full neck and head brace when we first see him, and he's laid back on a hospital bed with doctors and nurses looking concerned about his condition.
While the previous two seasons of the show are both available on Netflix (and you should check them out if you haven’t seen them already), “Cobra Kai” isn’t a “Netflix Originals” production. The first two seasons were actually made for YouTube premium and aired on YouTube initially before Netflix took note of the show’s rapidly-expanding following and paid big money to acquire the intellectual property in June 2020. As well as committing to airing the third season, they’ve also pre-ordered a fourth already. The success of the show has led to a revival of interest in the original “Karate Kid” movies from the 1980s, which in turn led to the creation of an official “Karate Kid” game for online slots websites in February 2019 made by Skywind Group, along with a range of action figures. It now joins one of a number of classic children’s films from the era to be re-imagined as a Playtech slots over thirty years later, with “The Goonies” and “Inspector Gadget” also appearing on that list. The fact that someone thought that the original source material might be able to make money as an online slots attraction probably speaks volumes about the profitability and popularity of “Cobra Kai.”
As eagle-eyed viewers of the teaser have already been discussing online, one of the most noteworthy scenes in the brief clip appears to show Johnny Lawrence in prison and looking badly beaten up. William Zabka, who plays Lawrence, has left a few clues in recent interviews that might explain why his character is suddenly locked up. While speaking to Collider, he mentioned that Johnny will be forced to experience "some ups and downs" as the season progresses, and that a significant amount of time has elapsed between the end of the second season and the point where the third season picks back up. Johnny wasn't exactly in the best of states when we last saw him, and we can't help but wonder what he's done in the meantime to make his situation even worse.
There's also going to be a strong connection between the storyline planned for Daniel LaRusso in the third season and the things that LaRusso experienced during the second "Karate Kid" movie. As you might recall, Mr. Miyagi took his protege to Okinawa, Japan, during that film in the hope that he would learn from and be inspired by the experience. Understandably feeling a little lost after the climax to season two, LaRusso will now head back to Okinawa again in the hope that he'll be able to rediscover the same magic. We don't know at this stage whether Robby will be joining him - or his daughter, for that matter - but the smart money says that they will. Keeping the characters apart for large parts of the season wouldn't make much narrative sense.
We can't wait to see what the entire "Cobra Kai" gang get up to when the show comes back. We're a little annoyed that it's going to take us longer than we thought it might do to find out, but at the same time, we should count ourselves lucky that we at least know when the third season will air. Fans of a lot of other shows don't yet have that luxury, and some shows have been canceled outright. 2021 is only a few weeks away, and a new season of "Cobra Kai" might prove to be the perfect way to pick ourselves up while we're enduring the post-Christmas and New Year blues. Let's hope for a great season!