“Season 3 has become the richest for me as an actor,” admits“Cobra Kai” star Ralph Macchio. “’Daniel LaRusso seemingly had it all and is now losing his grip and focus and has to re-balance himself. All those things resonate on a deeper level,” he says. Watch our exclusive video interview with Macchio above, in which he talks at length about what the show means to him.
“Cobra Kai,” now in its third season, revisits old rivals Daniel LaRusso (Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) from the original 1984 Oscar-nominated classic “The Karate Kid.”
This season sees Johnny and Daniel in a three-way feud with the villainous Kreese (Martin Kove, reprising his role from the original film), Lawrence’s old sensei, who returned last season to take over the Cobra Kai dojo. Old grudges and lots of karate kicks, blood and shattered glass build towards the satisfying season finale in which the two men finally come together with their dojos to take Kreese down next season.
Macchio has relished the chance to further explore this now-iconic character, by “peeling those onion layers off and diving into the nuances and areas that he needs to continue to re-calibrate his life, his mid-life,” he says. “Daniel LaRusso the teenager, the kid next door that had no business winning anything that we all rooted for that was the teen childhood hero is now thrust as an adult and his flaws are amplified. He’s rudderless at times, his intentions are always good but his knee-jerk personality gets him in trouble. These are all rich character traits to play.”
While “Cobra Kai” is action-packed, nostalgic and often very funny, it also explores themes that resonate on a deeper level. “As zany as it gets, as big as the story gets with the fights and the confrontation, it still comes down to good over evil, fathers and sons, good prevailing and fighting your way through all the minutiae, all this stuff that gets in the way to the true center of who you are,” Macchio explains. “‘The Karate Kid’ is the gift that keeps on giving. Some people say ‘how do you embrace being associated with this character,’ well look at what this character is giving and this franchise is giving to generations.”
Although the series flew somewhat under the radar when it ran on YouTube’s premium service for its first and second seasons in 2018 and 2019, when it moved to Netflix, the show’s first and second seasons become the most-watched series on the platform, while the third season further skyrocketed in popularity after it premiered in January 2021, cementing it as one of Netflix’s most popular original series. In addition to its impressive commercial success, “Cobra Kai” has also garnered raves from critics, with Season 3 scoring a “fresh” 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.
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