‘Cobra Kai’ Had a Backup Plan for That Season 3 Cameo But the Creators Weren’t Happy With It

Every time a star of The Karate Kid movies appears on the show Cobra Kai, it’s a surprise. The show began with only Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). They’ve added regulars from the movies, but each season has also had episodic visits from characters from the films. One of season 3’s major cameos wasn’t a sure thing. 

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Cobra Kai Season 3 cameos].

Cobra Kai Season 3: William Zabka, Martin Kove and Ralph Macchio sit together
L-R: William Zabka, Martin Kove and Ralph Macchio | Netflix

Co-creator Jon Hurwitz was on a Paley Front Row panel for Cobra Kai with his co-creators and cast. When asked about that major cameo, he revealed they had a backup plan that he’s glad they never had to fall back on.

Does Elisabeth Shue appear in ‘Cobra Kai’?

Elisabeth Shue played the love interest of both Daniel and Johnny in The Karate Kid. Ali (Shue) was Johnny’s girlfriend, but became Daniel’s after they broke up. Johnny has been pining for her, and sent her a friend request in season 2. The last shot of season 2 was Ali accepting his request.

Cobra Kai: Ali meets Daniel and Johnny at a party
L-R: Ralph Macchio, Elisabeth Shue, William Zabka | Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix

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“I wouldn’t say that we were happy with the idea of a backup plan,” Hurwitz said. “When we wrote at the end of season 2 that you’re going to see this phone on the beach, we’re basically saying Elisabeth Shue will eventually come. That was us trying to will it into existence.”

After ‘The Karate Kid,’ Elisabeth Shue was a calculated risk for ‘Cobra Kai’

Hurwitz acknowledged it was a long shot to get Shue back. However, by season 2, Cobra Kai had enough clout for them to chance it. 

Elisabeth Shue plays air hockey on Cobra Kai
Elisabeth Shue | Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix

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We believed we were making a great, well-intentioned show and we were proud of the work we were all doing. We felt we would have something really interesting for her to do [and] we had heard by that point that there was an open-mindedness, at the very least, to considering it. At that point, we felt confident we were going to reintroduce her character in a way that was three dimensional, that showed that her character had lived life and had some interesting things she’s going through while also dovetailing with a time where it would be really valuable for both Johnny and Daniel’s characters to be encountering her.”

Jon Hurwitz, Cobra Kai Paley Front Row panel

Elisabeth Shue still almost fell through

You know how Hollywood deals work. Hurwitz would not go into the specifics, but implied that the studio would have been okay with letting Shue go.

Cobra Kai: Johnny and Ali return to Golf and Stuff
William Zabka and Elisabeth Shue | Netflix

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“It had come a little bit down to the wire in certain ways, but we wouldn’t take no for an answer when it came to the studio getting nervous,” Hurwitz said. “We never told them our backup plan, we did have one but we never told them it. We made it like there was no option and they had to do whatever it took to make it happen because we thought it was important for the fans of The Karate Kid and fans of Cobra Kai to have that fulfilling experience of Ali with an I returning to this world.”

Source: Paley Front Row

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