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Actors Who Would Be Perfect As Mr. Miyagi In A Cobra Kai Spin-Off

If the entertainment industry has shown us nothing else, it's that audiences love a new take on an old favorite: spinoffs. The sheer preponderance of them proves that they keep making them because we keep watching them. They work. It's something Cobra Kai fans know all about; after all, the show is a spinoff of the popular Karate Kid film franchise, one that had lain dormant for 16 years — for good reason — following the release of The Next Karate Kid. But the remake from a decade ago proved there was still life and interest in the series and, thus, the Cobra Kai series we love exists today.

So now we're left to ponder, "how can they take this even further?" and the answer is as predictable as it is intriguing: a prequel. We have seen the Daniel LaRusso vs. Johnny Lawrence (Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, respectively) storyline extended to present day; it only makes sense that the next offshoot to spin off of the property is the long-awaited telling of Mr. Miyagi's backstory.

But who could ever take on the role of Mr. Miyagi?

Ken Watanabe

Discussing who could portray Mr. Miyagi in a Cobra Kai spinoff-prequel involves a bit of nuance. The character hails from Okinawa, Japan, so, ideally, an actor of Japanese descent should portray him. Under this constraint, Ken Watanabe might be the best young-ish Miyagi we could imagine. He first hit Hollywood in the underrated Tom Cruise film, The Last Samurai, as Lord Katsumoto Moritsugu, the leader of the samurai revolt that Cruise's Captain Nathan Algren was sent to quell. His performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Since then, Watanabe appeared as the fake Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins, a role that required him to offer a commanding presence with minimal dialogue. He's also played the King of Siam in The King and I, and portrayed Dr. Dr. Ishiro Serizawa in two Godzilla movies. Literally, the only knock on his prospects for playing Miyagi is the fact that he's 6-feet tall, whereas the sensei's original portrayer, Pat Morita, was 5-foot-3.

Louis Ozawa Changchien

Louis Ozawa Changchien would also totally make for a suitable Mr. Miyagi, should the character appear in a Cobra Kai spinoff. Changchien was born in the United States (as was Morita) to a Japanese mother and Taiwanese father. He showed he can pull off some decent action sequences as the nearly silent Yakuza member, Hanzo, in Predators. Changchien followed that up with even more action in the role of LARX #3, a brainwashed super soldier sent to kill Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) in The Bourne Legacy. On the small screen, Changchien has impressed with recurring roles on multiple streaming series, from The Man in the High Castle to Bosch. But, perhaps, his turn as series regular Joe Torrance in Amazon Studios' gritty, Nazi-fighting Hunters best shows us what Changchien is capable of.

Masayori "Masi" Oka

Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, Masayori "Masi" Oka makes an intriguing candidate for a young Mr. Miyagi. Known, perhaps, best for his role as Hiro Nakamura on the super-powered breakout hit, Heroes, Oka has kept plenty busy since then, including several seasons of the Hawaii Five-0 reboot. While his role as Dr. Max Bergman comprises a large percentage of his career, it's the traits that the Hiro Nakamura character shares with Miyagi that makes Oka an interesting candidate for a Cobra Kai spinoff. Both characters are unassuming but formidable: while Hiro is, at first, meek, he becomes a total badass when his powers manifest; Miyagi, on the other hand, is simply soft-spoken and lets his actions speak for themselves when the time calls for it, the human embodiment of the "speak softly and carry a big stick" mantra. Oka's demonstrated he can go from zero to 60, making him an unlikely but still compelling possibility for a young Mr. Miyagi.