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How Cobra Kai season 3 reveals what happened to Mr. Miyagi

It's the damnedest thing, but to hear Pat Morita tell it, the producers of The Karate Kid didn't even consider him for the role of Mister Miyagi. According to interviews with the actor, the higher-ups didn't think he had the chops to carry the part, seeing him as more of a comedic performer. For the record, when they finally handed him the gig, Morita went on to win an Academy Award for his work while simultaneously hammering timeless lines like "wax on, wax off" into the public consciousness. The guy was gifted, and his performance was timeless.

It could even be argued that Mister Miyagi's absence was one of the greatest hurdles that Cobra Kai had to clear. Since its premiere season in 2018, the tongue-in-cheek web series has kept the good sensei's memory in a place of reverence, foregoing its general willingness to take its source material with a cynical grain of salt and instead shining a melancholy light on the real-life passing of Morita in 2005. Daniel's visit to Miyagi's grave clued viewers in on the fact that the character had died in 2011, but the details of his final days were left unexplored.

Now, with the release of Cobra Kai's third season, more of the cracks in the Karate Kid story are being filled in. In one scene, we even find out about Miyagi's last days. Be warned: emotionally speaking, it'll sweep your dang old leg.

Mister Miyagi's ending has fans painting the fence with their tears

The scene in question takes place in Okinawa, with Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) returning to Japan in the wake of the events of season 2. There, he catches back up with Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita), Daniel's love interest from Karate Kid Part II and niece of Mister Miyagi's old flame. The two read Miyagi's last letter together.

"I am sorry to tell you that I am back in the hospital," the letter says. "Please do not worry. There is nothing to do besides watch TV and think — think about family, think about us, think about where I have been, think about where I am going." The letter continues, describing Miyagi's joy at having known Daniel and the familial feeling that he experienced watching his student become a father, and an impressive amount of crying gets passed between the performers on screen. Between the revelation that a beloved pop culture icon spent his final days alone in the hospital and the real-life emotion they probably felt talking about their colleague, it makes a lot of sense.

Ralph Macchio hasn't been shy about his desire to make Miyagi's presence felt in the series, and this sequence definitely does the trick. With the end of Cobra Kai's third season pointing towards a bright future for Miyagi-do Karate, it seems likely that the feeling will keep going strong for as long as the series continues.