2018 saw the Netflix series Cobra Kai revive The Karate Kid franchise from the 1980s in a TV series format. The show featured the return of many characters from the 1980s movie including the protagonist Daniel LaRusso played by Ralph Macchio and the antagonist Johnny Lawrence played by William Zabka. The show follows both characters many years after the events of The Karate Kid movies. The two have now grown up and have children of their own.
One of the main characters from the original movies is missing though and that is the character of Daniel LaRusso’s mentor, Mr. Miyagi. The character is missing because the actor who played the character, Pat Morita passed away in 2005. However, Mr. Miyagi still has a strong influence on the show. It is established in the show that Mr. Miyagi influenced Daniel and his family a lot over the years and Daniel even opens a dojo in Mr. Miyagi’s name called Miyagi-Do Karate.
In a recent interview with Screen Rant, Daniel LaRusso actor Ralph Macchio says that even though Mr. Miyagi has passed away his spirit is a big part of Cobra Kai. He also says that actor Pat Morita would have liked Cobra Kai if he was alive. Here is his full quote:
“I think Pat would have loved [Cobra Kai]. I think if he was here, Cobra Kai would be different. It would have to be. But it was important to me that Miyagi, his character, was laced throughout the storytelling in Cobra Kai. The writers of the show felt that way similarly.
“His presence is felt. And it’s felt by the other actors. I write about this in the chapter, “Soulful Magic,” which is kind of the Pat Morita chapter, even though he’s peppered throughout the entire journey. Actors like Tamlyn Tomita and Yuji Okumoto would come back as Kumiko and Chozen, and when we play scenes, we would feel [like Pat] was there on the day. Just as his spirit has blessed this Cobra Kai journey. Listen, without Mr. Miyagi and Pat Morita’s performance, there is no Cobra Kai series because there would not be The Karate Kid movie as it came to be.”
Cobra Kai recently wrapped up its 5th season which was its most succesful season to date.