Pop Culture | Movies

'Karate Kid' Stars Are Going Another Round, 34 Years After The Original Movie

Remember learning the important skills that Mr. Miyagi taught us? "Wax on, wax off."

Somehow after hearing it enough times it suddenly clicks and then you can become the ultimate Karate Kid in the world. Okay well, at least in that dojo.

Johnny Lawrence took on Daniel LaRusso in an epic battle, but in the end, the young grasshopper managed to beat Johnny and earn his respect.

Karate Kid
Columbia Pictures

Well, apparently that respect hasn't lasted, because 34 years later Daniel and Johnny are back.

That's right, the original actors are coming back to the roles that made them stars in the 80s to create a new series.

Both Ralph Macchio (LaRusso) and William Zabka (Lawrence) are back in a new show that follows what is going on now that we are 34 years after the initial fight.

Karate Kid Cobra Kick
Columbia Pictures

It's called Cobra Kai and it follows Johnny as he tries to reopen the Cobra Kai karate dojo. He has apparently been down on his luck lately, and is trying to rekindle that passion he once had.

Daniel is now the owner of a successful car dealership and hears about Johnny's attempts and tries to confront him.

The show was released on YouTube Red on May 2, and they opened up about what it was like to film this new show.

It took Ralph Macchio 30 years to be talked into another 'Karate Kid'

Karate Kid
Columbia Pictures

He's been hesitant when it comes to making another version of Karate Kid, but he revealed why he finally decided it was time to come back.

"It was a combination of things, I think that it was always easier, or felt more right to let the legacy stand on its own, and not  go back to the well and fall short...

"They [the creators] had a fresh take on how to write for the 'now' generation but they are the biggest 'Karate Kid' fans. And they wanted to treat it with respect.

"They found a smart angle in by entering this universe through Johnny Lawrence - the what ever happened to this bully at that time, where is her now, and made him a human character, and juxtapose with where LaRusso is.

"It was just smart, and it was right, and having the ability to make a five hour movie and cut it up into ten parts for what will hopefully only be season one of many."

Cobra Kai cast Today Show

As for William Zabka, he has been ready for a while

Karate Kid
Columbia Pictures

When he was asked what it took for him to get on board with the project, he joked that he's basically been counting down the days until they would ask.

"I knew I was going to do this from the day we wrapped 'Karate Kid'...

"It was amazing to step back into the character, and the guys [creators] really found a great entry point to him, and showing him broken down after all these years. And showing his humanity, showing his backstory a little bit.

"Putting the headband and the gi on, it was a little bit painful I have to admit.

"It was Pandora's box for him, Cobra Kai. Johnny learned his lesson at the end of 'Karate Kid' so why is he going back to it? We're going to find out."

Cobra Kai Cast Today Show

Why it's called 'Cobra Kai'?

Karate Kid
YouTube Red

Macchio and Zabka both had responses to this question, but Zabka was the first to quip.

"It's about the good guys finally, that's why!"

But Macchio had a much less goofy answer.

"Cobra Kai has become a brand just based on pop culture and relevance of the 'Karate Kid' film, so it's kind of a nice, smart way in. But Miyagi Do is here to stay."

As for how difficult it's been to get back into the karate itself, they've definitely noticed some changes

Cobra Kai
YouTube Red

While Zabka said that it's "No problem, man" Macchio admits that it hasn't been easy to get back into his usual crane-kicking shape.

"Me, it takes me a half hour to get stretched out."

Zabka then admitted, "It takes a while, a lot more stretching now."

Yes, that's the original headband

In a separate interview with Jimmy Fallon, Macchio revealed that he brought the real headband with him to set.

"It is the real deal... From 1983, I untied this, and moths came out of it."

Ralph Macchio
YouTube Red

He actually got to keep the original prop in his house for all these years!

"It's in my house, it's on the trophy from the movie. The All Valley Karate trophy."

What else did he take from the set?

Karate Kid Wax on Wax Off
Columbia Pictures

Macchio admitted to having some other big mementos from the set as well.

"I also have the '47 Ford, the wax-on, wax-off car. I just steal stuff from everything I do."

He also revealed how they shot that iconic fly catching moment

Karate Kid Fly Catching
Columbia Pictures

We've all been there, flies flying around our face and we wished we had Daniel's quick skills, but it's just not that easy. Well, after all of these years he's revealed how it was actually shot.

"It's a great story. We went through, like, five incarnations of how to figure out how to catch this fly.

"First they had like a big metal pipe frame, maybe a four-foot frame with a piece of fishing line and a plastic fly and there was two crew guys off camera going like this [shaking it around], and I was going like that [mimicking the chopstick motion]. It just looked hideous. It looked hideous.

They tried a few other methods too.

Karate Kid Fly Scene
Columbia Pictures

"And the next thing is they were catching flies. Crew guys were catching flies, and they were taking thin monofilament and fishing line and literally lassoing these flies, like putting them on a leash.

"And so they said, 'Just find the thing and go down to the fly. Well, I was decapitating, like heads going here.. You know it was just - sorry for those who care for the flies.

"But I will say there was one fly that we had on this leash for about a minute and a half and they're getting ready for the lights and let's go and rolling sounds, speaking to how long it takes before you actually shoot.

"And this fly was like [motions flapping slowly]. That was the end of that. And then he was like, 'Just go for it.'"

Karate Kid
Columbia Pictures

There was definitely a lot of failures.

"The funniest on, my favorite, was when they said, 'Okay, what we're going to do is we're going to put the fly on a piece of fishing line. And you'll have it there and then let it go and just act in reverse and we'll play it forwards.

"That never made it in the movie."

You can go watch all of the first season on YouTube Red and see exactly what happened to Johnny and Daniel, and if they can put their rivalry aside.

Source - Today Show / The Tonight Show