Did Cobra Kai Get Its Influence From Karate Kid?

Cobra Kai is an extremely popular show – and as such, it’s no surprise at all that people want to learn all they can about it!

Did Cobra Kai Get Its Influence From Karate Kid?

One question that lots of people have is just how much influence does the Karate Kid series have over Cobra Kai?

How Cobra Kai Advanced The Karate Kid Universe

Cobra Kai is one of the most popular shows on Netflix!

People all across the globe absolutely love this reinvention of the Karate Kid mythos, and for so many reasons!

Of course, the well-written characters and explosive fight scenes are fantastic, and definitely a huge reason why the show remains so popular.

However, one of the greatest assets that the show has is the rich history of the Karate Kid universe, and indeed one of the key strengths of Cobra Kai has always been how well it has handled the inherent history of the series.

Cobra Kai is absolutely infused with the spirit of the Karate Kid series, down to every last detail!

Not only does it share many returning characters from the original film series, but it has kept the overall feel of the films intact too, while still being every bit a fresh and modern show.

When characters return, they come fleshed out, as if they’d actually lived and grown after the events of the films they were in.

Every returning character is of course a joy to see again for fans of the original films, but that’s not enough to sustain a series that has run as long as Cobra Kai has.

Nostalgia alone doesn’t make a good show, and Cobra Kai doesn’t rely solely on memories of good times past to entertain!

There are plenty of new characters to the show too, not just returning heroes like Johnny and Daniel.

And while it might be easy to dismiss them as boring additions to the series at first, it doesn’t take long before viewers start to absolutely love the new characters as much as those returning from the original film series.

Cobra Kai is definitely a fully-fledged part of the Karate Kid universe. It wears it on its sleeve! And yet, it’s a fantastic show in its own right.

You can definitely watch Cobra Kai without having even seen the films, actually – which is great if you’re new to the Karate Kid, or simply haven’t seen the films in a long time!

Watching Cobra Kai is very likely to make you want to watch the films, though!

It’s a genuine continuation of the stories told in the films, and is so packed full of references to its parent series that you’ll likely want to watch the films just to appreciate the dense layering of references!

How Cobra Kai Handles Returning Characters

How Cobra Kai Handles Returning Characters

Many characters return from the original film series, and their stories fully continue in Cobra Kai, even though it is set decades after the original films.

What interests many people about Cobra Kai, in fact, is that at first the main character of the films isn’t the main character of Cobra Kai!

Most people would consider Johnny Lawrence to be the true hero of Cobra Kai, and although Danny LaRusso shares equal billing and screen time with Johnny, it’s clear for most fans that Johnny is the heart and soul of the show.

Having one of the main antagonists of the first film return as the hero of the series has been an absolutely fantastic choice too!

Prior to the return of the Karate Kid franchise in the form of Cobra Kai, many internet discussions had taken place about how Johnny Lawrence was, indeed, the unsung hero of the Karate Kid films, and in some ways could be even seen as a victim of bullying by both his sensei, Kreese, and even the protagonist of the film – the titular Karate Kid!

Of course, these aren’t the only two characters who return from the original film series either – and without going into spoilers, it’s fair to say that Cobra Kai handles these just as well as it does the stories of Johnny and Daniel.

Fans of the series who watched the films years ago will absolutely love how each of the returning characters is handled, and just how interesting and unique everybody’s stories are!

All in all, Cobra Kai deals with its returning characters fantastically.

And even if you don’t know very much about the original film series, you’ll be absolutely enthralled with the characters of CObra Kai.

How Cobra Kai Respects The Legacy Of Pat Morita

Of course, one presence that is sadly missing from the show Cobra Kai is that of Pat Morita.

Pat Morita played the iconic Mr. Miyagi in the original film series, and alongside Daniel-san, he is arguably the face of the entire franchise.

Mr. Miyagi was a fantastic character, and an inspiration to many around the world.

And Pat Morita played him beautifully, and rightly earned a place in film history with his portrayal.

Not that Morita wasn’t already a star of the screen before The Karate Kid, of course!

He’d been a favorite of TV audiences for a long time already, with prominent appearances in MAS*H and Happy Days to name just two.

However, Pat Morita sadly passed away in 2005. Cobra Kai remembers him through paying tribute to Mr Miyagi, the legendary character he played.

Cobra Kai treats Miyagi with so much love and reverence, and practically every mention of Miyagi comes as both a tribute to the character and the man who played him.

It’s clear that in the show, Daniel reveres Miyagi, and sometimes feels directionless without his guidance.

However, part of the legacy that Miyagi left for Daniel was teaching him how to make the right decisions for himself.

Any of us with departed loved ones can understand the pain of losing them, of course.

It feels as if the show really is paying tribute not just to the character, but to Morita himself.


Of course Cobra Kai was influenced by The Karate Kid, and the following sequels.

Of course, rather than leaning on nostalgia too heavily, Cobra Kai takes the underlying story and runs with it, creating something fantastic that delights new and old fans alike.

Christopher Anderson
Latest posts by Christopher Anderson (see all)