William Zabka: ‘Cobra Kai’ Has Completely Changed ‘The Karate Kid’ Fan Reaction

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During an online podcast with Mark Maron, William Zabka took a sip on how his role as Johnny Lawrence in Netflix’s Cobra Kai has wholly influenced the Karate Kid fan reaction. Zabka sums up his journey From being a villain and bully of the Classic Karate kid to becoming the protagonist Johnny Lawrence as a long and bumpy ride toward owning up to his mistakes and taking a step forth to becoming a better person.

Zabka continued by saying that his reputation as Johnny Lawrence extended into his personal life. Although, from his point of view, things weren’t always this same for him. He also glanced over his co-star Ralph Macchio, who played the good guy in the original and was hailed as a definitive “nice guy.” Now the success of Cobra Kai has made their interactions much friendlier.

What did Zabka tell Maron?

“It’s a trip,” Zabka said of getting used to the experience. “I love it now because up until [Cobra Kai] I was the table that the dads would walk up and go, ‘I want my kid to meet you. This guy was the biggest a**hole. Nice to meet you.’ And they would walk away.”

He continued, with Maron in hysterics, “Now, I got people coming up and going, ‘Hey, I love you on the show. Johnny is cool now.'”

If we travel back to the very first season of Cobra Kai, Johnny Lawrence wasn’t that much of an improvement compared to Jhonny LA. The show portrayed him as an unkind alcoholic who lashes out on the world and harbors grudges and anger to escape accountability for his wrongdoings. However, time slowly turned around the man’s life, who was in a constant feud with himself, slowly tailoring him into a more thoughtful character. Johnny has progressed significantly since the first Karate Kid, and his story remains the center ark of Cobra Kai. 

In season 3, he stood up against the physical and emotional abuse of his old master John Kreese played by (Martin Kove) leading up to a climactic fight between Kreese and Daniel and Johnny. The trio will continue its quarrel into the fourth season, where their students will settle it out in the All Valley Karate Tournament.

He later goes on to reason with his former foe Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), in Season 3 of Cobra Kai. In an attempt to reclaim his name, Johnny Lawrence reopens the Cobra Kai dojo and takes the role of a sensei to teach a new age of students.

Season 4 has completed filming and will reportedly premiere in the autumn, so the fans do not have to wait long for Johnny’s next adventure. The upcoming season will welcome the Johnny/Daniel duo, pairing the students of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do against Kreese’s dangerous and ruthless Cobra Kai. 

Johnny’s romance with Carmen (Vanessa Rubio) and his friendship with Miguel Diaz will continue to flourish in season 4, premiering on Netflix this year.

Cobra Kai is an excellent and binge-worthy series starring Ralph Macchio, Tanner Buchanan, Jacob Bertrand, Gianni DeCenzo, Vanessa Rubio, Martin Kove, and Xolo Maridueña. 

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