Ralph Macchio Has Revealed How ‘Cobra Kai’s Surprise Character Return Was Written With An Alternate Plan

WARNING: Spoilers from the newest Cobra Kai season will be found below.

Cobra Kai‘s infuriatingly good third season brought back many faces, including The Karate Kid Part II‘s Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) and Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita). The season also pulled off a few more miraculous casting feats. This includes making room not only for one line from a popsicle-wielding, extremely judgy Anthony LaRusso (Griffin Santopietro) but a visit home from Ali Mills, played by Elisabeth Shue. This was a wonderful return for Ali, who marvelously ignited some adversarial banter between Ralph Macchio’s Daniel-san and William Zabka’s Johnny Lawrence. And I loved how she and Daniel’s wife, Amanda (Courtney Henggeler), ganged up on the two dojo heads to tease them mercilessly. Let’s face it: the dudes both deserved a good ribbing.

Netflix screencap

Macchio recently revealed that the plan for Ali to return was in the cards for awhile. The scripts were even written before anyone asked Elisabeth Shue to return, which was a risky move with Shue working on The Boys. However, there was a backup plan, in case the logistics didn’t come together. Via Polygon, the writers would have had Ali’s husband be the one who was talking with (and messing with?) Johnny on Facebook:

“That was the fallback, 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.”

Man, that would have been one rude awakening for Johnny: to be catfished by his ex-girlfriend’s husband. Brutal! Fortunately, everything worked out, and Shue was able to make her episodes happen. As she told Entertainment Weekly, one of the directors (Dan Trachtenberg) on The Boys put the bug in her ear to consider the appearance, and then the ball started rolling :

“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 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!” I said, ‘Why, why do you care so much?’ He said, ‘You have no idea how important The Karate Kid is in my life.'”

From there, she sat down with creators Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald, and Hayden Schlossberg, and she said, “I’ll do whatever you need.” Meanwhile, Heald told TV Line that they “went back and forth” on whether Ali and Johnny should kiss, but ultimately, they wanted to make it much more of an emotional reunion than a physical one. Also, Johnny ended up realizing that he and Carmen make a ton more sense as a couple, which was a smart move! Ali was there to put perspective in other character’s lives, but I wouldn’t mind if she and Amanda could have on occasional girl’s night next season.

(Via Polygon, Entertainment Weekly & TV Line)