'Karate Kid' star (spoiler) finally makes her 'Cobra Kai' debut! William Zabka 'loved it' (2024)

Spoiler alert! The following contains details from Season 3 of "Cobra Kai" streaming now on Netflix.

Let's be honest: "Cobra Kai," with all itsreferences to "Ali with an I" without an actualappearance by actress Elisabeth Shue, has been the equivalent of a cruel, cruel summer. Finally, she resumes her role from "The Karate Kid" film for the last two episodes of the spin-off series' new season (now on Netflix), which has us feeling like we nailed a crane kick on a beach piling.

When we met Ali in the 1984 feature, she'd been broken up with Johnny (William Zabka) for "weeks" before she began dating the movie's protagonist, Daniel (Ralph Macchio).

In the closing shot of "Cobra Kai" Season 2, we saw that one Ali Mills Schwarber (her married name) sent Johnny a Facebook friend request, which he missed because he hurled his phoneinto the sand during a moment of frustration. In the newseason, Johnny and Ali reconnect onlineand in real life. Shue first appears onscreen in Episode 9, "Feel the Night." Ali, now a Coloradan,decides tovisither parents for the holidays.

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'Karate Kid' star (spoiler) finally makes her 'Cobra Kai' debut! William Zabka 'loved it' (1)

While Ali has been on Johnny's mind, her visit coincides with a potential romantic reconciliation forJohnny and Carmen(Vanessa Rubio), the mother of his karate studentMiguel(Xolo Maridueña). Johnny and Carmen decide to have a conversation defining their relationship, butheaccepts Ali's invitation for lunch in the meantime, thefirst reunion for the two since high school. Over cheeseburgers, Ali reveals she and her husband have separated, andJohnny apologizes for taking her for granted and breaking her radio.

The two then venture to Golf N'Stuff–you know, the same place where Daniel's mom drove him and Alion their date in "The Karate Kid" (which set the bar for this author's expectation of dates). Johnny and Ali play air hockey, mini golf and basketball and nearly kiss before Ali gets a text from her mom reminding her to go to a Christmas party. She invites Johnny, and the nostalgia continues in Episode 10, "December 19."

At the party, Ali spots Daniel and meets his wife, Amanda (Courtney Henggeler). The four catch up on the old days and the present, even revealing exactly whyDaniel and Ali broke up (because he was insecure about a male friend of hers).

Off screen, Amanda tells Ali that Johnny's been involved with Carmen, which viewers see Ali encourage him to pursue. As Ali and Johnny part, they hugbut don't kiss. She tells him, "I will always be there for you," which he reciprocates. She tells him to "get out of here" because he has "a future to find." And that future, heartbreakingly so for those who think Ali is "the best around," is Carmen. Johnny reveals he loves her.

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'Karate Kid' star (spoiler) finally makes her 'Cobra Kai' debut! William Zabka 'loved it' (2)

Reps forShue did not respond to USA TODAY's request for comment about her "Cobra Kai" appearance, but forZabka, reuniting with Shue was a dream.

"I loved it. I was so excited about the idea of her coming back," he says, mentioning how the show's first two seasons revealed "how much she's still part of Johnny and still a part of the rivalry between Daniel and Johnny and how important she is to the story and to their twolives."

"Cobra Kai" creatorsJosh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg longed for Shue's return since conceiving the series.

"We didn't know if she'd even consider coming back, but our hope was that if people responded to the show how we hoped they would, and if we came up with a present-day version of Ali with an 'I'that she could latch onto, then we'd have a shot," the trio say in a statement. They desired for her part to be meatier than a cameo. "We wanted her to have juicy scenes that would be impactful to both Johnny and Daniel's stories.

"Once we had a plan, we shared those thoughts with Elisabeth and she loved them," the showrunners add. "And it didn't hurt that she had some friends who were fans telling her that she must do the show."

Zabka says though he'd seen Shue "sporadically throughout the years," working together againfelt like "seeing an old friend from high school."

"In between doing these scenes we're talking about our real lives and our real kids," he says, praising Shue as "lovely" and "the best." It turns out she's also "really competitive.When we're playing at GolfN' Stuff and doing the air hockey, andthe basketball, she takes that seriously."

'Karate Kid' star (spoiler) finally makes her 'Cobra Kai' debut! William Zabka 'loved it' (3)

Though the two still have onscreen chemistry,Zabka understands why their characters aren't meant to be. "Johnnyreally loves Carmen, he really loves (her son, Miguel)," he reasons. While Johnny and Ali were momentarily transported to their teenage years during their time together, the reality is "They've grown… You realize that when you bump into somebody later in life– it worked then, we still love each other but we can't move from hereforward.

"At the same time, she's strong and she gets Johnny," he continues, adding that he admires their bond.

"They were great friends, and that'll be there forever," he says. "And I love that she was big enough just to cut Johnny loose and say, 'Somebody else is on your mind,'and for him to say, 'Yeah.'"

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'Karate Kid' star (spoiler) finally makes her 'Cobra Kai' debut! William Zabka 'loved it' (2024)


Is Cobra Kai for 13 year olds? ›

This series follows a "The Karate Kid" franchise, but should be prepared for it because there's a lot more mature and darker than the movies. Rated TV-14 for strong martial arts violence and language throughout, some suggestive content, alcohol/smoking and some drugs use, and thematic material.

Why do they call William Zabka Billy? ›

William Zabka was offended by How I Met Your Mother series

The actor shared that people preferred to call him Billy Zabka after the series. The Equalizer actor shared with The Wrap, “When 'How I Met Your Mother' came along, which was a super-popular show, Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) called me 'Billy Zabka.

Does William Zabka actually know karate? ›

At the time, Zabka had no training in karate, but was an accomplished wrestler. Participating in the film inspired Zabka to learn the martial art of Tang Soo Do and he later earned a second–degree green belt. Later in the 1980s, Zabka appeared in the comedy movies Just One of the Guys (1985) and Back to School (1986).

Does Cobra Kai have swear words? ›

Profanity (8)

Season 5: 8 spoken F words, 4 in English and 4 in Spanish, (displayed in subtitles), and 1 written on a note that is clearly seen and zoomed on using the prefix "mother".

Is Cobra Kai gory? ›

Violence & Gore (35) Bloodless (almost always) karate combat. Street fights, refereed athletic practices and sports violence is to be expected, but nothing graphic. There are degrading, violent verbal outbursts from adults as well.

Is Cobra Kai good or evil? ›

Cobra Kai are the main antagonists of The Karate Kid franchise.

Who is the most beautiful girl in Cobra Kai? ›

  • They're both pretty girls, but Peyton List, the actress who plays Tori, is easily prettier than Mary Mouser (Samantha LaRusso).
  • For some reason, the people who run the series seem to be doing their best to try to hide just how pretty Peyton List is.
  • She's a damn good looking woman.
Feb 26, 2021

Do adults like Cobra Kai? ›

Excellent show for teens and adults. Overall: Cobra Kai is an excellent, entertaining, and intriguing show based on the Karate Kid trilogy. It features positive messages, humor, romance, and karate action, but also contains more iffy content than Karate Kid.

Who was the bully in Karate Kid 2010? ›

Dre develops a crush on a young violinist, Mei Ying (Wen Wen Han), who reciprocates his attention, but Cheng (Zhenwei Wang), a kung fu prodigy whose family is close to Mei Ying's, attempts to keep them apart by beating Dre, and later harassing and humiliating him in and around school.

How old is Mr. Miyagi? ›

Mr. Miyagi
DiedNovember 15, 2011 (aged 86)
In-universe information
Full nameNariyoshi Keisuke Miyagi
AliasHideo Miyagi, Miyagi-san Miyagi-sensei
22 more rows

Who is the blonde guy in The Karate Kid? ›

William Zabka was born on 20 October 1965 in New York City, New York, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for The Karate Kid (1984), Back to School (1986) and Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Can Ralph Macchio fight? ›

Apart from four jiu-jitsu lessons when I was 10, I had no martial arts experience. Before filming, I was trained in Okinawan Gōjū-ryū karate by Pat E Johnson, who coordinated the fight scenes and played the head referee in the tournament at the end of the film.

Is Billy Zabka a black belt? ›

Zabka trained off and on for about six years and got his Green belt, which is about halfway to Black.

Does Chozen know karate? ›

Chozen made his first appearance in The Karate Kid Part II in 1986, as Daniel LaRusso's opponent and ultimate enemy. He was the nephew and number one student of Sato Toguchi, a dojo owner in Okinawa, Japan, and a practitioner of Miyagi-do karate.

How old are the kids supposed to be in Cobra Kai? ›

In Cobra Kai, the age range of the karate kids varies, but they are generally portrayed as teenagers or young adults. The show focuses on the rivalry between Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso, who were rivals in the original Karate Kid movie.

Why is Cobra rated R? ›

Cobra needed much additional editing because the film was so graphically violent that it originally received an X rating. It was edited to receive an R rating.

What age rating is Karate Kid? ›

Does Cobra Kai have romance? ›

Romance has been a key component in all five seasons of Cobra Kai. Part of how many of the characters have progressed over the course of the series, adult or teenager, has been through the relationships they've been in.


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