Movie Reviews

If This Is Karate Kid's 2025 Plan After Cobra Kai, I Don't Think I Want It


  • Cobra Kai’s conclusion and the 2025 Karate Kid movie’s separate universe raise concerns about narrative cohesion.
  • Showrunner Josh Heald confirms no character beats from Cobra Kai will feed into the movie.
  • Despite potential disconnects, the movie’s setting, cast, and fresh start offer hope for its success.

The 2025 Karate Kid movie’s story plan after Cobra Kai‘s conclusion is making me doubt whether I would still want to watch it. After consistently running strong for five seasons, Netflix’s Cobra Kai is finally coming to an end. While I am sad that the beloved show is reaching its conclusion, I am also glad that the show’s creators are giving it a natural closure instead of unnecessarily stretching its runtime. Fortunately, soon after Cobra Kai’s end, the new Karate Kid movie will hit the big screens, potentially maintaining all the hype surrounding the franchise that Cobra Kai successfully reinvigorated.

Although it is still a little confusing how Ralph Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso and Jackie Chan’s Mr. Han will share the screen in the movie, I cannot help but be grateful for living in a time when the two Karate Kid universes will collide. However, I am still cautiously optimistic about the new Karate Kid film because many of its hinted story details do not seem too promising. It may be too soon to draw judgments about the film, but I might lose interest in watching it if this is the direction it will take with its story.


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Cobra Kai Season 6 Not Setting Up Sony’s Karate Kid Movie Is Concerning

The Karate Kid Movie Cannot Simply Ignore Cobra Kai’s Story Developments

Cobra Kai’s showrunner Josh Heald clarified that he and the other creators are not involved with the upcoming Sony Karate Kid movie. Owing to this, the movie has its own separate universe, and the show’s final season will not set it up, even though Daniel LaRusso is one of its main characters. Heald added that, even though Ralph Macchio’s character bridges the gap between the show and the movie, none of the character beats from Cobra Kai will feed into the movie project. Here’s the showrunner’s full statement:

The guys and I are not personally involved in the movie. That’s a Sony feature, we kind of exist in this universe, so as we are wrapping our series, Ralph is actually going to go off to participate and film that movie. But our series doesn’t set up the movie, the movie kind of exists in its own piece of its own universe with Jackie Chan’s character, and Ralph’s character, and the various other characters in that story. So, I think Daniel is the piece that that does tie in, but there’s nothing, from a storytelling or a character journey in our season that directly feeds into that project.

Heald’s statement about Cobra Kai having no narrative connections with the 2025 movie confirms my biggest concern. When the film was first announced, I was excited about its release because Ralph Macchio’s involvement promised it would continue Cobra Kai‘s storyline in some ways. However, strangely, with no other connective threads between the two, I am starting to find it less appealing because I, like most viewers, have grown to love the Daniel LaRusso I have been seeing for the past 6 years.

Everything from his changing dynamic with Johnny Lawrence to his relationship with his wife and two kids has become a part of his identity after his Cobra Kai arc. Owing to this, it will not make sense if the 2025 Karate Kid movie suddenly portrays him as someone else without mentioning anything about his Cobra Kai arc. It would be even stranger if the movie ignores the fact that he has a family. I understand that a separate universe means the Karate Kid movie will feature a different version of Daniel. However, how am I supposed to suddenly forget everything I’ve learned about him in Cobra Kai?

Cobra Kai Reinvigorated The Franchise, So Why Is Karate Kid 2025 Ignoring It?

The 2025 Karate Kid Film Would Not Have Happened If It Wasn’t For Cobra Kai

After the first two original Karate Kid movies, the franchise kept declining until its run came to an end with the fourth film, The Next Karate Kid. Provisions were made to revive the Karate Kid franchise with 2010’s The Karate Kid, which starred Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith as its leads. However, despite performing fairly well at the global box office, the film struggled to be as influential as the original 1984 Karate Kid. As Ralph Macchio once explained in an interview (via Collider), he, too, was given several opportunities to reprise his role as Daniel in many reboots.

Unlike most failed reboots,
Cobra Kai
not only managed to honor the original’s legacy but also etch its own identity by featuring a new generation of karate rivalries and companionships.

He was open to playing the character again, but none of the pitched ideas seemed exciting enough to convince him to return to the franchise. Three decades after he hung his boots from the franchise, Cobra Kai came along and gave him a solid reason to play Daniel again. Unlike most failed reboots, Cobra Kai not only managed to honor the original’s legacy but also etch its own identity by featuring a new generation of karate rivalries and companionships.

Since Cobra Kai single-handedly revived interest in the long-dead franchise and made it relevant again, it just seems unfair that the 2025 Karate Kid movie is ignoring it. Despite capitalizing on the newfound momentum Cobra Kai has given to the overarching franchise, the Karate Kid film is seemingly disregarding the very elements that contributed to its resurgence. This creative decision could spell trouble because viewers like me would feel alienated by the lack of narrative cohesion between the show and the film.


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Why There’s Still Hope For The 2025 Karate Kid Movie

The Movie’s Setting & Cast Are Its Saving Grace

Collage of closeups of Jackie Chan as Mr Han smiling in The Karate Kid (2010) and Ralph Macchie as Daniel LaRusso ready to train in Cobra Kai
Custom Image by SR Image Editor

Since the Karate Kid movie will unfold on the East Coast, it can safely give Daniel a fresh start without mentioning anything about his Cobra Kai LA past. While it might still raise questions about his family’s whereabouts, the movie’s limited runtime can justify focusing on a new chapter in Daniel’s life. Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Han’s team-up in the film could also be exciting enough to overshadow the film’s lack of continuity with Cobra Kai. Owing to this, there is still hope for the 2025 Karate Kid film, but I’m afraid it will struggle to keep viewers invested without Cobra Kai connections.

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