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The '90s Icon Who Almost Played A Huge Part In The Karate Kid 3

The Karate Kid was so much more than an inspirational sports movie. It popularized karate in the United States and brought the phrase "Wax on, wax off" to the public lexicon. The film launched a media franchise, which continues to this day with the spinoff series Cobra Kai, which has built up a ton of goodwill and positive reviews. 

The show features a ton of callbacks to the original series with allusions to Daniel LaRusso's former girlfriend Ali Mills as well as loving tributes to Mr. Miyagi. Season 3 also sees Daniel go to where Mr. Miyagi is from — the prefecture of Okinawa. However, there are still some areas of Daniel's earlier years that haven't come up yet on Cobra Kai

While they never technically dated, Daniel did have a crush for a short time on Jessica Andrews in 1989's The Karate Kid Part III. It's unclear so far what Jessica's up to these days, but we'd wager actress Robyn Lively would be willing to make an appearance on the show if given the opportunity. It's one of her most famous roles, and surprisingly enough, she was certain she wasn't going to get it all those years ago when she first auditioned, because she thought it would go to an actress who went on to have immense success in the 1990s.

Heather Graham also auditioned for the role of Jessica in The Karate Kid Part III

In a recent Zoom chat to raise money for Action Against Hunger, many of the actors from Karate Kid films over the years, including Ralph Macchio, Elisabeth Shue, and William Zabka, gathered to discuss what it was like to work on such an iconic franchise. At one point, host Josh Gad turned his attention to Robyn Lively and asked her what the process of filming The Karate Kid Part III was like. She then explains, "When I got the audition, I was like, 'I can't believe this.' I was so excited; I did the screen test, and I was testing against Heather Graham. And the minute I saw her I said, 'Yeah,' I was like, 'Oh, I'm never going to get this.' She looks like a doll. She's like the most beautiful creature I've ever seen ... When I got it I was like pinching myself."

While Lively had a fairly decent résumé prior to her role in The Karate Kid Part III with appearances in TV shows like Punky Brewster and The New Leave It to Beaver, Graham was a star on the rise thanks to a prominent role in the 1988 comedy License to Drive where she starred alongside Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. It's understandable Lively would be nervous going up against Graham, but whatever she did in the audition must've impressed somebody. She landed the role and is forever a part of The Karate Kid's legacy.

She's yet to make an appearance on Cobra Kai, but there's plenty of inspiration the show could take from characters in The Karate Kid Part III. Jessica Andrews coming back into the fold would certainly be an intriguing development, and with the show already renewed for season 4, fans can expect plenty of wise lessons and action set pieces going forward.