'Cobra Kai' Season 3 Spoilers: Johnny Lawrence used to be 'The Karate Kid' villain, will he find redemption now?
'He was so bad for three decades. He was the biggest jerk. He was the villain. But it flips'
In ‘The Karate Kid’, Ralph Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso was the hero and William Zabka’s Johnny Lawrence was the villain. But as the story moved forward in Netflix’s series ‘Cobra Kai’, things got more complicated. Season 3 of ‘Cobra Kai’, which takes place more than three decades after the events of the 1984 "All Valley Karate Tournament", will find everyone reeling in the aftermath of the violent high school brawl between their dojos, which left Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) in a precarious condition. While Daniel searches for answers in his past, Johnny seeks redemption.
Speaking to David Spade on his new talk show ‘The Netflix Afterparty’, Macchio said, “We knew there was going to be a redemption story [for Johnny] going in, how gray the areas were, and how LaRusso and Lawrence — at certain times — would become the antagonist to the other, is part of the fun of it all... That’s the thing that’s the most different from the Karate Kid films, which were so clearly black and white, good over evil. Daniel Good. Johnny Bad.”
“All they had to do is give Johnny a little redemptive... just a little goodness,” adds Zabka. “He was so bad for three decades. He was the biggest jerk. He was the villain. But it flips.” The redemption arc for Johnny is set up perfectly. The official trailer for ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 3 sees Daniel tell Johnny that the only reason all the kids had gotten into trouble was because of them and that it was time for them to work together. And that is how things will happen this season. They will be like Tango and Cash, only neither of them are narcotics detectives.
We will also see Johnny inspire Miguel to get better on the other end, even though progress is likely to be slow given just how injured he was. After all, last season, the brawl between Tory (Peyton List) and Sam also saw Miguel and Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan) lock horns and it ended badly when Miguel was tossed off the stairs and he broke his back.
So, the redemption arc for Johnny will come with being able to help both Miguel and his son Robby — even though how he will reconcile them will be interesting to watch. In an interview with CBR, Zabka recently said, speaking about his godson off-screen, “My relationship with him is similar to Miguel, but there's elements of Robbie in there. So it all works. You pull from your life, but definitely having a father's heart and knowing what it's like to have kids when you're dealing with young actors that you're trying to help mold through this character. It's definitely an essential part of the character-building, for sure.”
About Robby, in an interview with MEAWW (MEA Worldwide) Buchanan had teased that, by the end of season 1, his character was in a troubled state. He didn't get any better by the end of the second season. He said, "While Robby sees a father figure in Daniel, his actual father is Johnny... he's his real blood, someone who wasn't there for him, but probably doing the same thing that Daniel did for a different person. Robby is in a hard place right now, thinking about how he could mend everything."
Season 3 of ‘Cobra Kai’ will premiere globally on January 1, 2021, a week earlier than the previously announced January 8, 2021.