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The Cobra Kai Season 3 Storyline That We Never Got To See

Contains spoilers for season 3 of Cobra Kai

Season 3 of Cobra Kai has landed on Netflix, and if you're anything like us, you devoured all ten episodes in a single sitting.

News that a face very familiar to fans of the 1984 classic The Karate Kid turns up in season 3 of Cobra Kai should hardly surprise anyone who's been paying attention. After all, the return of Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) to the orbit of dueling dojo masters Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny (Willam Zabka) was teased (via Facebook messenger) in the series' brutal season 2 finale. The seemingly ageless actor didn't, however, make her official return to the San Fernando Valley until episode 9 of the new season.

She made quite an impact. Without spoiling much, we'll say her life has been every bit as rocky as her male counterparts, and that she's clearly intrigued by what she sees in the newly sort-of reformed Johnny. If you want to know how (or if) that duo makes out, you'll need to go ahead and complete your Cobra Kai binge. Just know that, according to Ralph Macchio, Shue's return to The Karate Kid cinematic universe was far from a given when the episodes were written.

The Daniel LaRusso actor admitted as much in a recent interview with Polygon, telling the outlet that the show's creative team was confident Shue would return, but they totally had a backup plan in case she couldn't. "That was the fallback," he explained, "the 'how are we gonna vacuum ourselves out of the room' from what we've written, which would be her husband was doing the Facebook back-and-forth with Johnny."

That alternate Ali plot would've been a wild one for sure

Needless to say, the idea that Ali's husband had been catfishing poor Johnny would've been a particularly tough pill to swallow for both Cobra Kai and The Karate Kid fans. We have not a single clue exactly how the Cobra Kai writing team was planning to spin what would've been a massive narrative curveball to say the least, but we're sincerely happy they didn't need to.

As it turns out, the writers had good reason for cooking up that alternate narrative, because Shue wasn't entirely sure she wanted to return, and even if she did, her shooting schedule for Amazon's The Boys still might've prevented it. Per Shue's interview with Entertainment Weekly, her stint on The Boys is a big reason she signed on to Cobra Kai; it was actually Dan Trachtenberg (director of the pilot episode) who helped convince her to consider it. 

"To be honest, I really hadn't thought about being on Cobra Kai. When I showed up on the set [of The Boys] for the first day, Dan [Trachtenberg] came right over and said, 'You're doing Cobra Kai, right?' I was like, 'What? I don't know ... Do you think that's a good idea?' He goes, 'Is that a good idea? You have to be on Cobra Kai!'"

Seems Cobra Kai fandom owes Trachtenberg a hearty "thank you," as Shue eventually took a meeting with the series' creator Jon Hurwitz. And yes, Ali Mills' arrival was exactly what was needed to help the show's dueling protagonists find a path forward. Here's hoping she sticks around for the upcoming fourth season of Cobra Kai.