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The One Thing Ralph Macchio Wanted To Make Sure Cobra Kai Included

30 years is a long time. Think of all the changes that society has experienced in the last three decades. We've seen five presidents elected. Six big screen Batmen. Overalls were in, then out, then in again. Now, to the best of anyone's ability to determine, they're back out. It's impossible to keep up.

Despite the ever-shifting cultural landscape, some creative types volunteer for the task of updating the beloved franchises of yesteryear, bringing the brand recognizability of generations past into the thrill-a-minute world of the 21st century. It can't be easy, trying to determine which aspects of a property are narratively load-bearing.

Or at least that's the case for some folks. Not Ralph Macchio, whose work as Daniel LaRusso on Cobra Kai glues the series' pieces in place, making it instantly recognizable as a part of the Karate Kid universe. In a recent interview with Screen Rant, Macchio was asked about the show's third season, the production process, and how he felt about returning to the dojo once again. According to him, the most important aspect of the show was the potential it had for honoring Pat Morita and his portrayal of Nariyoshi Miyagi in the first four films.

Ralph Macchio didn't want fans to forget Miyagi

Asked about the third season return of Karate Kid veterans Tamlyn Tomita and Yuji Okumoto, Macchio called the reunion: "Wonderful. I mean, it's what I've asked for from the get go when this kind of, the concept of the show is pitched."

"To me, I wanted to explore those characters and we don't have Pat Morita with us anymore, obviously," Macchio continued. "So, but so I was like how to keep ... Miyagi alive throughout the entire series. And it informed the show and informed the LaRusso character."

Mr. Miyagi's absence has certainly been a factor in the Cobra Kai story, and for good reason. As the stern-but-affable father figure of the series, Pat Morita's character enchanted audiences in the original films, earning the actor a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination and turning "wax on, wax off" into pop culture shorthand overnight.

In 2005, Morita passed away at age 73 from natural causes. Cobra Kai's stories have been mindful of the loss, killing off the character off screen while also paying tribute in the form of an episode dedicated to Morita's memory. With season 3 taking Daniel to Miyagi's home in Okinawa, it seems like they're not done paying their respects just yet.