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Cobra Kai Spin-Offs We Might See In The Future

As Dean Martin famously put it, "You're nobody 'til somebody loves you so much that they've spun off every facet of your being into a full-blown multimedia franchise spanning dozens of movies, tv shows, books, games, comics, and a Universal Studios Orlando stunt show." Or something like that. Paraphrase aside, the takeaways are clear: Song lyrics have improved since the '60s, and The Karate Kid is well on its way to being somebody.

A lot of that is thanks to Cobra Kai. Since the karate-powered sequel series was acquired by Netflix, it's become one of the streaming service's most valuable properties, consistently topping the Top 10 Most Viewed list. That the series will continue on seems to be more or less a given, but that sense of inevitability practically begs the question, "where can it go from here?" What other stories are there to tell, preferably via separate programs that'll draw in even more viewers? 

We've compiled a short list of possibilities, which we'll now proceed to wax on about.

More Miyagi

Community had it figured out before a lot of us: Mr. Miyagi is, pretty inarguably, the most compelling, well fleshed-out character in the Karate Kid universe. Every glimpse into the enigmatic sage's past just makes him more compelling.

True to the Yoda archetype, Miyagi comes off as sort of a goof when we first meet him, introduced as a curt handyman at Daniel's apartment complex. Through the first half of the film, he more or less keeps up the silent and mysterious schtick, until a drunken breakdown reveals the truth: He served in the United States Army during World War II, earned a Medal of Freedom, and lost his wife and child while they were interned at Manzanar. It's all pretty dark stuff for a guy who would later close out a street brawl by honking John Kreese's nose. Our point is: There's a lot there to mine.

A Mr. Miyagi prequel series would hit all of the targets for a successful spinoff: It would fill in the gaps, explore the unseen details of a beloved character's backstory, and pay tribute to a Hollywood icon. Plus, the unavoidable scene where Miyagi accidentally learns martial arts by doing chores is an untapped vein of nostalgia.

Increase the Kreese

Audiences love a hero, yes. But if there's one thing we can take away from the middle bits of the 2010s, it's that they love a villain even more. Iconic bad guys of the era like Walter White, Dexter Morgan, and the Modern Family kid, though? They were all missing a key, compelling character trait that John Kreese has got in spades: The ability to karate somebody to death.

An onscreen depiction of John Kreese's life — either before the events of The Karate Kid or during the gap between the films and Cobra Kai – would make a hell of a companion piece to a Mr. Miyagi prequel, especially in light of the flashbacks we got during season 3 of Cobra Kai. What made the guy so ruthless, and what life events led him to think that raising a paramilitary youth cult in a strip mall was a solid fallback? At what point did he realize that his life's work should be beating up children, and why didn't anyone ever convince him to try yoga or something? Most importantly, who swept his leg? Emotionally or literally? The guy has unplumbed depths.

Ali Mills Schwarber, M.D.

There's not a lot here. Mostly, Elisabeth Shue is a killer actress and people like medical shows. We know that Ali grew up to be a doctor. Maybe she learned that trick that Miyagi used to do, and now she heals people by rubbing her hands together really fast. Maybe she bumps up against the board of directors at the hospital where she works for her unconventional approach to medical care. She used to like mini golf, right? In the pilot, she probably shoots golf with the chief of medicine. Really, this is all just riffing.

But wait! At the end of the first episode, there's a flash and a bang. Ali turns around, startled, to see that a DeLorean has appeared out of nowhere. Who should exit the highly modified car but two more Elisabeth Shues, specifically the one from Back to the Future Part II and the one from Adventures in Babysitting. They're on a mission to, let's say, stop the Kevin Bacon character from Hollow Man, who has taken the Elisabeth Shue from that movie hostage. Maybe they also get help from the Elisabeth Shue from The Saint, who uses a now-retired Simon Templar's menagerie of auxiliary personas to bring villains to justice. It'd be a whole extended Shueniverse.

Whatever. Nobody in Hollywood wanted to make Foodfight!, either.