With Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprising their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence on the revival show, it'll be touching to see how the Karate Kid TV sequel will reference Mr. Miyagi. Actor Pat Morita, who portrayed the iconic and beloved character, died in 2005, at age 73. And frankly, his physical absence from the show, which is titled Cobra Kai, will definitely be felt by a whole generation of fans who grew up on his wisdom in Karate Kid. From the synopsis as described by The Hollywood Reporter, however, it sounds like Miyagi will play a large role in Cobra Kai, regardless. And it also sounds as though Daniel will be missing his mentor just as much as fans will.
According to the THR article, Cobra Kai will be set 30 years after the events of Karate Kid, where a now-successful Daniel is struggling to maintain balance in his life without Miyagi's guidance. A down and out Johnny, meanwhile, will reopen the infamous Cobra Kai dojo, and reignite his rivalry with Daniel, while both characters address their own past and present demons through karate.
Though this general synopsis only provides the bare details of the show, it still manages to suggest that Miyagi will be a powerful driving force for the story. It's also easy to imagine that following the events of the Karate Kid movies, that Daniel and Miyagi likely maintained a close mentor relationship that left a colossal impression on Daniel's overall life. Though we might not see Miyagi other than in potential flashback form, his imprint, philosophy and teachings will no doubt be a visceral presence all over Cobra Kai.
We may witness Miyagi and his wisdom in how Daniel relates to the World, and also in how he deals with his new-born rivarly with Johnny. But it's also easy to imagine hearing more about their mentor relationship from Daniel himself. There's even the possibly that we may hear Daniel passing on some of Miyagi's teachings to a new child, possibly even his own.
In a 2014 interview with USA Today Sports' For The Win, for instance, Maccio revealed where he thought Daniel would be 30 years after the events of Karate Kid, and Miyagi is (unsurprsingly) a big part of it. Maccio said:
I think LaRusso would be a family man. I think all the Miyagisms made him a good family man and decent dad. I’m sure if his son was picked on he’d know how to answer some of those questions. I think LaRusso should turn out to be exactly what we want him to be. Middle-working class guy, successful and after being screwed [over] by all these women in the two or three movies ... he ends up finding the right one.
In Cobra Kai, it's clear that Miyagi will mean more than just a throwaway reference to a cherished character. He'll be embedded in the very spirit of the show itself, where the character and his teachings will no doubt live on within Daniel, and the continuation of the Karate Kid story.