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How Cobra Kai Season 3 Accomplishes What Karate Kid 2 Never Did

Season 3 of Cobra Kai is gearing up for its January 2021 Netflix debut, and speculation surrounding the new adventures of old Johnny Lawrence is reaching a boiling point. Will legs be swept? Will waxes go on? What about off? At least one detail has surfaced regarding the next chapter in the series, and it one-ups the production process behind the source material in an impressive way.

It all comes thanks to a recent EW interview with Ralph Macchio, the performer behind the erstwhile protagonist of the franchise, Daniel LaRusso. Asked about the highly anticipated third season, Macchio expressed excitement at the prospect of deepening the series' mythology, while simultaneously dropping a tidbit about what sounds like an ambitious shooting process. "The thing I love about that third season is that it expands on the scope of the series, and dives into and explores the origins of both Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai," Macchio said. "And so in going to Okinawa, which I never did — the second movie was shot in Hawaii — I was able to get into Okinawa with Yuji and a threadbare crew, and we got some beautiful footage."

Yes, the Karate Kid universe is going international — for real this time.

Cobra Kai is taking Daniel to Japan - but really this time

Longtime fans will recall that The Karate Kid Part II, released in 1986, took the series' heroes back to Mr. Miyagi's hometown in Okinawa. The thing is, as alluded to by Macchio, the main cast never made it quite that far into the Pacific Ocean, with the film's producers opting instead to reconstruct portions of Okinawa on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

What's not currently known is what Daniel LaRusso hopes to find in Japan. Some theories point to a spiritual journey, which would make sense — in his EW interview, Macchio states that Daniel is "at his lowest point" at the start of Cobra Kai's third season, and a symbolic reconnection with his old mentor would be in keeping with the character we've gotten to know across three movies, a streaming show, and a decidedly weird Saturday morning cartoon. More far-out fan ideas have Daniel going to retrieve the mysterious, mystical healing goop employed by his former mentor in the Karate Kid sequel.

Of course, on-location shooting isn't the only new ground that Cobra Kai breaks this year. It also, according to Macchio, pioneers a brave new world of the actor feeling sore. "Once you push past that 50 mark and you're getting closer to the 60 mark, the more rehearsals for the fight stuff, the better," the 59-year-old actor says. "Everything just takes a lot longer. It's a lot of stretching, a lot of Advil."