Cobra Kai star Ralph Macchio regrets Karate Kid decision regarding Elisabeth Shue

elizabeth-shue-ralph-macchio-the-karate-kidColumbia Pictures

Cobra Kai star Ralph Macchio has expressed regret over the decision to drop Elisabeth Shue’s character for The Karate Kid Part II.

Having shot to fame in The Karate Kid in 1984, Ralph Macchio’s career went quiet in the 1990s, with the star no longer landing major movie roles after his supporting turn in My Cousin Vinny.

But he’s back on track thanks to Cobra Kai, the belated Karate Kid sequel that started on YouTube, but is now a bona fide blockbuster on Netflix.

The actor’s autobiography, Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me, hits shelves tomorrow, and while promoting the book, he discussed the decision to drop Shue from the movie sequel.

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Why did they drop Elisabeth Shue for The Karate Kid Part II?

Elisabeth Shue played Daniel LaRusso’s love interest Ali in the original Karate Kid. But she was nowhere to be seen in The Karate Kid: Part II.

Instead, Daniel travelled to Okinawa with mentor Mr. Miyagi, where he embarked on a new romance with Kumiko, played by Tamlyn Tomita.

That’s because producers had a plan for LaRusso to have a new love interest in each successive Karate Kid movie, James Bond-style – something that doesn’t sit right with Macchio some 40 years on.

What did Ralph Macchio say about the decision?

When asked by The Guardian how he felt about the removal of Shue, Macchio says: “I never looked at it from the perspective of Ali’s character or from the perspective of Elisabeth as an actor. As an older person, there was a recognition of missteps, of things I should have done differently.”

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Macchio says he regrets not calling his co-star at the time, or standing up to the producers, though adds: “They probably would have said to me, ‘Get outside, Macchio, and start practising your karate kicks…’ Today, I think, there would be a different conversation.

“Women in movies were often thought to be disposable. I see that now. Then? I didn’t see it. It was a case of youth being wasted on the young. I was swept up in everything that was happening in my life.”

How Cobra Kai brought things full circle

Elisabeth Shue’s Ali was eventually brought back in Season 3 of Cobra Kai, to once again get caught between Daniel and his nemesis Johnny (William Zabka). But then to be given a more dignified departure.

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Macchio says that after the initial shock of being reunited on set subsided, they spoke about the past.

“It got quite emotional for us both,” Macchio tells The Guardian. “These characters were cinema sweethearts. Things weren’t handled right. Then there were years of absence as life got in the way. But we got to have another moment as actors. And it was kind of wonderful.”

Cobra Kai is currently streaming on Netflix, while details on the next season can be found here.