Dr. Ali Mills Schwarber is a fictional character portrayed by Elisabeth Shue in the 1984 film The Karate Kid. While she has not yet made an appearance in Cobra Kai, she has been repeatedly referred to by both her former love interests Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) throughout the series.
As fans of the Karate Kid franchise are aware, Johnny and Daniel’s heated rivalry would most likely not exist if not for Ali. In the first film, Ali — who had just called it quits with Johnny — took an immediate liking to Daniel. This caused Johnny and his fellow Cobra Kai students to continually bully the New Jersey native in a very violent manner, which eventually led to him being mentored by Mr. Miyagi.
Here’s what you need to know about Dr. Ali Mills Schwarber:
1. Ali May Make an Appearance in Cobra Kai’s 3rd Season
Since the start of Season 1, fans of Cobra Kai have been hopeful that Ali may go back to her hometown of Encino, California. Now, production has been tight-lipped about whether or not Elisabeth Shue may soon join the cast. That being said, William Zabka revealed that Ali may be reintroduced in the show’s 3rd season, which is set to air on January 8th on Netflix.
“Yeah, there’s no secret that there’s talk about it. I believe she’s been approached and hopefully, there could be a couple spots with her where she’s kind of open to the possibility, and that’s as much as I know,” said Zabka in a June 2019 interview with Pop Culture.
The actor went onto say that he would like to see Johnny and Ali get back together, stating,
“I’m rooting for Ali with Johnny. She’s been a huge part of Johnny, she’s a big part of The Karate Kid, [Elisabeth’s] a wonderful actress, and she’d be a great addition to the show, so I’m rooting for it, but I’m in the dark at this moment.”
2. Ali Was Written Off in Karate Kid Part II Because Elisabeth Shue Continued Her Studies
Ali did not make an appearance in the Karate Kid sequel because Elisabeth Shue decided to enroll as an undergraduate at Harvard University. She had previously taken a leave of absence so that she could star in the first installment of the franchise.
Initially, The Karate Kid Part II did have a scene where Ali ended her and Daniel’s relationship but it was edited out of the script because of Schue’s lack of availability. Instead, Daniel explained her absence by telling Mr. Miyagi that she had moved on with a football player who attended UCLA.
In a May 2019 interview with ABC Radio, Shue commented upon the possibility of her character making an appearance in Cobra Kai and referenced her initial departure from the franchise.
“In Karate Kid II, my character was kind of pushed aside in a way that didn’t feel so great. So it’s funny how the idea of Ali coming back [started],” explained the actress. “At first, I thought, ‘Well, her character really left the world of The Karate Kid in a way that wasn’t so great…would people care about her coming back?’ I forget — what? Did she go off with some football player or something?”
3. Ali Did Not Practice Karate in the Film, Despite Elisabeth Shue Desiring to Do so
In The Karate Kid, Ali does not practice karate, despite dating two people who are incredibly passionate about the sport. During a 2017 interview on The Rich Eisen Show, Elisabeth Shue revealed that she is athletically inclined and was confident that she would be a good martial artist if she had been presented with the opportunity to train.
She explained that she was gifted at playing soccer and made reference to a scene in The Karate Kid where Daniel teaches Ali to juggle a soccer ball with her thighs.
“I had to pretend to be bad in The Karate Kid. I had to pretend that I didn’t know what I was doing but I was better than Ralph Macchio at soccer… and probably at karate too… Of course, I didn’t train… I’m sure I would have been much better if I had trained. I could have kicked his a**,” asserted the Back to the Future Part II actress.
Shue shared similar sentiments in a 2018 Sports Illustrated interview.
“I remember being incredibly jealous that Ralph got to learn karate and I didn’t. I made fun of him a little bit, like: I could kick your a**,” said the Cocktail star.
4. Ali May be Daniel’s Favorite Past Love Interest
Even though the character Daniel has been married to his wife Amanda for at least two decades, he still seems to hold a candle for Ali.
In Season 1, Episode 9, Daniel and Johnny briefly bonded by reminiscing over their shared high school sweetheart. Daniel noted that his former flame is a pediatric surgeon based in Denver, Colorado, and has a husband, named Gregory Schwarber, who is an oncologist. When Johnny inquires how he knows this information despite not speaking to her “in decades,” Daniel revealed that he has been keeping tabs on her through Facebook. He clarified that he has not “friend-requested her” … “[b]ecause he’s a happily married man.” He, then, however, says “besides she never friend-requested me either so,” before being interrupted by Johnny, who was eager to see a Facebook picture of Ali’s husband.
Daniel also brings up his relationship with Ali when trying to comfort his daughter after her breakup with Miguel Diaz in the first episode of Season 2, titled “Mercy Part II.” He explained that his relationship with his “first girlfriend,” Judy, ended because he moved to Reseda, California, but he soon “met a new girl, Ali.”
“This time, I was sure she was the one. I mean Judy was great, but this, this was true love,” said the owner of LaRusso Auto Group.
When Sam asked “what happened with Ali,” Daniel responded “that’s a story for another time. And then there’s a story after that one. And that one,” seemingly in reference to his two other love interests Kumiko, from The Karate Kid Part II, and Jessica, featured in The Karate Kid Part III.
5. Ali may Have an Important Role in Saving Miguel
With the knowledge that Ali is a pediatric surgeon, many fans have surmised that she may have a pivotal role in saving Miguel, who is — as of the Season 2 finale — severely injured following an intense fight with Robby Keene. According to Screen Rant, one fan theory is that Miguel’s mentor Johnny will contact Ali through Facebook and implore her to help the high school student.
That being said, there are questions of whether Ali would reciprocate the request. As previously mentioned, she resides in Colorado and has not spoken to her high school ex since the events of the first Karate Kid film took place. She also did not have the best relationship with the Cobra Kai instructor when they were younger.
That being said, Ali appeared to not have any qualms with Johnny reaching out in the first place. After he writes a Facebook message to her — which he accidentally sends — she responds by requesting to be his friend on the social media platform.