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Cobra Kai, the show that picks up over 30 years after the popular Karate Kid movies of the '80s, is kicking its way forward into its fourth season. The show, which stars a grown-up Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Danny LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), focuses on what it means to be a great sensei to a group of misfit kids. There are also soap opera levels of drama and karate fights, of course.
Here’s what you need to know about Cobra Kai before Season 4 dropkicks onto Netflix.
How to watch Cobra Kai
The fourth season of Cobra Kai will stream on Netflix starting on Dec. 31. If you’re not a Netflix subscriber, that will put you back anywhere from $8.99 to $17.99 a month, depending on what tier you get.
The first three seasons are currently on Netflix, and the fourth will be there as well when it drops on New Year's Eve. The first two seasons are also available on YouTube Premium, where the show first aired. While we don’t know the release date yet, we do know that Netflix has already greenlit a fifth season of the show, which will also eventually be streaming on the platform.
What’s happened so far in Cobra Kai
Johnny Lawrence has come a long way since the first season when he was a down-and-out guy barely able to pay his rent. Since then, he revived his old Cobra Kai dojo and became a mentor for a bunch of kids, most prominently his neighbor, Miguel (Xolo Maridueña).
In later seasons, however, Miguel becomes seriously injured in a blowout fight at the high school (drama!) and Cobra Kai is taken over by the original “No Mercy” sensei, John Kreese (Martin Kove). While all this was going on, Johnny and Danny continued to feud with each other, with Danny creating his own dojo, Miyagi-do, that focused on the teachings of his old sensei, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). To make things even more dramatic, Danny teaches Johnny’s estranged son, Robby (Tanner Buchanan), who ends up being the one throwing Miguel over a staircase and breaking his back.
That brings us only to the third season of the show. Miguel recovers, and Johnny creates a new dojo, delightfully called Eagle Fang, while Kreese continues to run Cobra Kai. The common enemy of Kreese caused Johnny and Danny to reluctantly see more eye to eye. Elizabeth Shue, who played Danny and Johnny's love interest, Ali Mills, in the first Karate Kid movie, also makes an appearance. Season 3 ends with Miyagi-do and Eagle Fang about to face off in a tournament against Kreese’s Cobra Kai.
What we may see in Season 4 of Cobra Kai and beyond
Where could things go in Season 4? We do know that the next season will see Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) Kreese’s partner in crime from Karate Kid III, entering the fray. Other than that though, things are unclear, though the show’s co-creator Jon Hurwitz explained in an interview with Collider that there are many possibilities for Season 4 and beyond:
"We found, even in Season 1 when we were in the writers’ room, there were so many ideas that we had that just didn’t fit into those five hours in the first season, so they ended up getting pushed to the next season,” he said. “There are ideas that we talked about at the beginning of the show, that showed up in Season 3 or will show up in Season 4. And then, there are ideas that just fall by the wayside. There’s no added pressure to elongate the series. We’re still having a blast making it. There’s still a lot more story to tell, in our minds. We just finished shooting Season 4 and we have a lot more that we’re excited to do, going forward. So, we can’t tell you exactly how many seasons we’re going to have, but we know that we’re going to enter each season with enthusiasm and confidence. Eventually, we’ll talk to our friends at Sony and Netflix and say, 'We think this is probably around the time we should be winding it down,' and hopefully they’ll give us that time to do it. We’ll see."
Cobra Kai was created by Hurwitz, Josh Heald, and Hayden Schlossberg. In addition to Zabka, Macchio, Kove, Maridueña, Buchanan, and Griffith, the show stars Courtney Henggeler as Danny’s wife, Amanda LaRusso; Mary Mouser as their daughter, Samantha LaRusso; Jacob Bertrand as Eli 'Hawk' Moskowitz; Gianni DeCenzo as Demetri; Vanessa Rubio as Miguel’s mom, Carmen Diaz; and Peyton List as Tory Nichols. Season 4 will also introduce two newcomers, Dallas Dupree Young and Oona O’Brien, to the show.