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SYFY WIRE The Karate Kid

Mr. Miyagi as a ghost? A 'Rocky' crossover? Ralph Macchio recalls insane 'Karate Kid' sequel ideas

Well, now we want a team-up between the children of Daniel LaRusso and Rocky Balboa!

By Josh Weiss
Karate Kid (1984) GETTY

After starring in three Karate Kid movies between 1984 and 1989, Ralph Macchio decided to throw in the Gi.

He decided that his tenure as Daniel LaRusso had officially come to an end and set out to distance himself from the lucrative martial arts franchise in order to avoid type-casting. Whether he liked it or not, though, all anyone wanted to do was run ideas for potential Karate Kid sequels by him. Macchio details some of the craziest pitches he ever heard over the decades in a new memoir about his connection to the property — Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me — which hits stands next week.

"As time went on I would slowly open one ear at a time and attempt to be flexible enough to at least hear them out. I must admit on most occasions it was challenging to get past the first few sentences," the actor writes in the book (via an excerpt run by Entertainment Weekly). "Miyagi dies tragically and comes back as a ghost to guide you. You have a kid that is a bully and you need to be the Miyagi to your troubled kid . . . who also has a drug problem. Ali is pregnant with Johnny's child and you can't deal even though you're now married to Kumiko."

The craziest of them all proposed a crossover with the Rocky films (director John G. Avildsen kicked off both franchises and directed several follow-ups in each).

"I remember the enthusiasm with which the writer gave his 'elevator pitch' to John, me, and the studio execs. John had directed both Rocky and The Karate Kid, so that lent itself to this writer's conceptual idea. It was basically a version of this: What if Rocky Balboa had a kid and Daniel-san had a kid and they were both f–ups and you, Ralph and Stallone, come together between New Jersey and Philadelphia to join in a Miyagi/Mickey style of fight training. People would go nuts!"

Macchio and Avildsen purportedly "shared a mystified look" before the latter started to laugh and promptly rejected the concept, labeling it as "a forced idea," Macchio recalls. "I believe he diplomatically said he wasn't interested in combining those two franchises or those characters. Clearly this was before DC Comics and Marvel changed the landscape of the cinematic superhero world. What did we know? But for that moment it was both intriguing and hilarious."

Daniel LaRusso's long-awaited return wouldn't become a reality until the premiere of Cobra Kai in 2018. The critically-acclaimed series, which serves as a follow-up to the original movies, was a YouTube Original before making its way to Netflix for Season 3. Macchio jokes in the book that he now looks like a genius for waiting until the hit show came along.

Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me goes on sale from Penguin Random House next Tuesday, Oct. 18. Seasons 1-5 of Cobra Kai are now available to stream on Netflix. A sixth season has yet to be confirmed, though Macchio recently stated that he and the other creatives behind the show are "feeling pretty good" that they will be renewed.

"There’s more meat on the bones there. But it’s gotta be entertaining and organic and I think there’s plenty of places to go every season,” he said during an interview with US Weekly. “Whether you bring in Tamlyn Tomita as Kumiko [or] Elizabeth Shue [as Ali] in Season 3. You [also] have Thomas Ian Griffith — what a great job he’s doing. Karate Kid 3 was never, ever my favorite of those three movies. Now it’s bearing such great fruit and storytelling and refined versions of characters."

Looking for some butt-kicking action? The Northman, Self/Less, Upgrade, The Mummy trilogy, Haywire and more are streaming now on Peacock.