‘Cobra Kai’: The Show’s Creators Also Started 2 Raunchy R-Rated Comedy Movie Series

Even with Hollywood’s obsession with reboots, Cobra Kai came as a surprise. Sure, The Karate Kid and its sequels were popular in the 1980s. But the franchise had been dormant for so long. How could anyone refresh the series and make its characters relevant? Of course, Cobra Kai is currently a smash on Netflix. Yet, fans might not know the surprising team that created the show.

Ralph Macchio and William Zabka attend the Build Series
Ralph Macchio and William Zabka attend the Build Series | Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

‘The Karate Kid’ series had already been revived in a different form

There’s one big reason why Cobra Kai shocked even the most devoted fans of The Karate Kid. The show takes a much more grounded, multi-layered approach to the franchise. Characters like Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), and even John Kreese (Martin Kove) have clearer, more relatable motivations. 

But that’s not why Cobra Kai blindsided fans. Rather, the show’s 2018 premiere on YouTube Red felt like a long shot because The Karate Kid had already been rebooted. In 2010, Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan starred in a big-screen remake of the original film. And the movie was an undeniable hit, bringing in more than $350 million worldwide.

A sequel to the remake reportedly remains in development. But in the meantime, writers Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg pitched a new way into the franchise. Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment secured the rights for the 2010 film. For that reason, Smith is credited as a producer on Cobra Kai. But the series’ creators also have a surprising filmography.

RELATED: ‘Cobra Kai’: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Predicted the Show Nearly a Decade Before Its Debut

The show was created by an unlikely team of filmmakers

The Karate Kid movies feature some light moments. But they’re certainly not considered comedies. Cobra Kai, however, features a lot more self-awareness than the franchise ever has. Although the show’s tone blends multiple genres, it incorporates comedy in a fresh, exciting way. So fans shouldn’t be shocked the show’s three creators work almost exclusively in comedy.

Heald, for instance, wrote the 2010 comedy Hot Tub Time Machine. That film — which spawned a sequel Heald did not write — features an ensemble cast led by John Cusack. But it also features Zabka in a supporting role, perhaps teasing Heald’s involvement in Cobra Kai

Likewise, Schlossberg and Hurwitz wrote all three entries in the Harold and Kumar series. The duo even directed 2008’s Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. They later reunited with star John Cho by writing and directing 2012’s American Reunion, the fourth entry in the American Pie franchise.

RELATED: Most Fans Have No Idea How Will Smith Is Connected to Netflix Hit ‘Cobra Kai’

Fans are eager to know where ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 4 will lead

The stars of Cobra Kai often reference how the show’s creators consider The Karate Kid series their Star Wars. And indeed, Heald, Schlossberg, and Hurwitz treat the movies with much reverence. However, thanks to their background in comedy, they’re able to temper this gravity with fun and humor. Perhaps this irreverence is why the show has resonated with fans.

With how season 3 ends, Cobra Kai Season 4 could potentially be the most epic yet. Daniel, Johnny, and Kreese are all on a collision course. And the potential for other series characters to return could add substantial weight to the upcoming round of episodes. Thus far, Heald, Schlossberg, and Hurwitz have given fans very little reason to doubt their plans.