It was something of a surprise when Cobra Kai became the juggernaut that it did on Netflix; after all, the show had already released two seasons on YouTube Red, and it only got something of a cult following. But when Netflix bought the streaming rights, and released Season 3, Cobra Kai became one of the most popular shows in 2020. Ron Thomas, who played bad-boy Cobra Kai member Bobby in the original The Karate Kid film, and has guested on Cobra Kai in his former role, who is now a pastor, reflects on the phenomenon Cobra Kai has become in an exclusive interview with Popthrill.
“It was a risk for sure, what they did could have gone south,” the actor said, talking about the idea for the spin-off of the popular movie. “They are doing everything intentionally and by design and going through their choices of when they are re-inserting an old character from the past.”
That mix of nostalgia and good ole’ fashioned teen drama has made the show beloved by both young and old.
Thomas can’t believe the amount of social media activity he has gotten since appearing on the show. Though when the show first premiered, he admits not everyone was so sure the show would be a success.
“I remember there being a lot of social media chatter that this would suck and couldn’t work, with people saying things like ‘these guys are too old,’” he recounted. “But when you take a risk like this, and do it intelligently, the risk/reward payoff can be big, and this one paid off big time.”
Thomas feels the cast—both Cobra Kai’s new stars and those back from the original movie, especially Ralph Macchio and William Zabka—make the show something special and everyone is having a great time.
“There’s a synergy from the films that lasted through the decades and continues to be there on the set today,” he said. “Synergy and energy are part of the reason for this success.”
Ron Thomas is excited about the upcoming Cobra Kai Season 4 and believes fans will enjoy the ride ahead.