Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Ralph Macchio Initially Had Major Reservations About His Cobra Kai Character

"Cobra Kai" serves as a direct sequel to the first three "Karate Kid" movies, gradually reintroducing virtually all of their major characters over the course of its first five seasons. During Season 1, however, "Cobra Kai" is less of a catch-all sequel and more of an attempt at complicating and subverting viewers' impressions of two characters behind the high school rivalry that drives the first "Karate Kid."

Whereas Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) is a two-bit bully and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) a virtuous underdog in "The Karate Kid," Johnny becomes the flawed but sympathetic protagonist of "Cobra Kai" Season 1. Daniel, meanwhile, is Johnny's foil in adulthood, living a perfect life on paper while exhibiting a degree of arrogance that seems to be a byproduct of his success at karate in his teenage years.

As "Cobra Kai" progresses, Johnny and Daniel become dual protagonists of sorts, representing opposing lifestyles, each with their own respective advantages and disadvantages. As it turns out, Macchio harbored some reservations about Daniel's attitude prior to his character's current trajectory, which he outlined in an interview published in conjunction with the release of "Cobra Kai" Season 5.

Ralph Macchio wasn't initially on board with Daniel's arrogance in adulthood

Around the time that "Cobra Kai" Season 5 premiered on Netflix, GQ published an interview with Ralph Macchio to its YouTube channel in which he candidly discusses some of his biggest acting roles. During a breakdown of his return to Daniel LaRusso in "Cobra Kai," Macchio reveals that the arrogant version of Daniel introduced at the series' outset didn't initially mesh with how he personally would have envisioned Daniel in his adulthood.

"I would always argue, LaRusso had this great mentor, this grounded mother. Would he really have gone in this direction?" Macchio said. "The earlier stuff was even more in-your-face."

However, Macchio credits a scene from Season 1, Episode 5, in which Daniel's wife Amanda (Courtney Henggeler) encourages him to reflect on his current lot in life, with getting his character back on track, so to speak.

Macchio also addressed Daniel's character development in a January 2021 appearance on The View. "Did I ever think Daniel LaRusso would have been an auto dealer giant in the San Fernando Valley? Probably not," Macchio said. "But what it does is it adds great story and conflict. And it also pushes me to go outside of what I might have envisioned or written in my mind."

So, while Macchio may have introduced viewers to a different version of Daniel were he the sole creative behind "Cobra Kai," he's nevertheless well aware of the character's value in his current incarnation.