The Karate Kid Part II distinguished itself from forgettable sequel contemporaries, with a radical change in locale and a focus on character development in lieu of retreading its predecessor’s plot. Consequently, Cobra Kai Season 3’s recently revealed focus on Part II—revisiting its setting of Okinawa and key characters Chozen and Kumiko—was exciting news. Now, a new preview clip reveals how Daniel’s trip will yield a surprising connection to the late Miyagi.
The clip spotlights the franchise return of Tamlyn Tomita, who reprises her Part II role of Kumiko (the now-prolific actress’s very first onscreen role,) in a scene that clearly takes place in Okinawa—this time actually shot in the Japanese southern prefecture, not Part II’s domestic production substitute of Hawaii. While we’re not catching them during an awe-inspiring sightseeing tour, the clip does show the long-awaited reunion of Ralph Macchio’s Daniel with his love interest (and tea ceremony partner) from the 1986 film; a seemingly platonic lunch between old friends that manages to disclose crucial information about the reason behind the trip.
Considering how the imminently-ending buildup to Cobra Kai‘s third season—during which the series migrated from YouTube Premium to the more prominent platform of Netflix—has felt like a long process from the second season’s April 2019 drop, substantive plot details are certainly welcome. Pertinently, we learn that Daniel—still dejected by the tragic climactic events of Season 2—has come to Okinawa seeking guidance and perspective; something that his life has been lacking ever since the passing of Mr. Miyagi, which, in the show’s canon, occurred in 2011 (although, Pat Morita actually passed away in 2005). Fortunately, a sympathetic Kumiko (a long way for Tomita from Star Trek: Picard‘s bellicose Romulan mole, Commodore Oh,) seems to hint that there just might be some posthumous wisdom left behind by Miyagi for Daniel to consume in this time of personal tumult, thusly leaving us with an intriguing hanging thread.
“I wish he could be here to help guide me,” declares Daniel, to which an optimistically smiling Kumiko responds, “I think I can make that happen.” Of course, we don’t know how she’ll make that happen, but we do know that Daniel will run a gamut of reunions with some surviving Karate Kid Part II players, notably the film’s main antagonist, Chozen, reprised by Yuji Okumoto. While we’ve seen footage of a sparring session between Daniel and Chozen, evidence points to the latter having turned a new leaf after having spent Part II harassing Daniel, building to a climactic moment in which he held a knife to Kumiko’s throat in order to incite a “fight to the death,” from which Daniel ultimately emerged battered but victorious. However, it does seem that Daniel’s quest to reconnect with Miyagi leads to Chozen, who—similarly trained in Miyagi-Do karate through his uncle Sato—also seems to bear an unsavory secret about the late mentor.
Nevertheless, Cobra Kai‘s Okinawan sojourn won’t likely take up too much of Season 3, since there’s plenty of main-thread business to handle that will see Daniel and Johnny (William Zabka) finally put aside nearly four decades of detestation to team up against the toxic teachings of the Cobra Kai dojo, which is now back in the hands of its sinister Svengali sensei founder, John Kreese (Martin Kove). It’s an endeavor that will also involve undoing the damage the dojo wars left on the lives of the seriously-injured Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) and incarcerated Robby (Tanner Buchanan).
Cobra Kai Season 3 aims to sweep the leg of its streaming competition when it hits Netflix on Friday, January 8, 2021.