The acclaimed series “Cobra Kai” focuses on the intense rivalry between Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William “Billy” Zabka). As fans of “The Karate Kid” are aware, Johnny instantly dislikes Daniel after he catches him flirting with his ex-girlfriend Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue). From that moment on, the Cobra Kai student acts aggressively towards the New Jersey native and eventually beats him up to the point of near unconsciousness. This harassment causes Daniel to seek out karate lessons from Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita).
On “Cobra Kai,” it is revealed that Johnny still longs for Ali and has kept a black headband that she gifted him during their two-year relationship. In the show’s third season, Ali spends time in the San Fernando Valley, and the former couple goes to Golf N’ Stuff, where they almost share a kiss. They later end up at the Encino Oaks Country Club and interact with Daniel and his wife, Amanda (Courtney Henggeler).
William “Billy” Zabka Discussed Ali Mills During an April Panel
According to Showbiz Cheat Sheet, William “Billy” Zabka discussed his character’s reunion with Ali during a Netflix virtual panel in April 2021. He first noted that “Daniel taking Ali from Johnny” has caused some major issues for the Eagle Fang owner throughout his life.
“[Ali is] really the true villain of ‘The Karate Kid’ in a way. She turned against Johnny, for me, you know. If she would’ve just stuck with Johnny, stuck by his side, maybe he wouldn’t have gone down this path. She jumped ship on me,” quipped the actor with a laugh.
The father-of-two went on to explain that Ali was Johnny’s “first love.” He also noted he appreciated that the show’s writers included the fact “that the headband he’s been wearing was a gift” from Ali.
“He gave her a little plastic pink elephant or something back, you know, and now he’s carrying this, this scar, this wound all this time,” stated the 55-year-old.
During the panel, Zabka also noted that he “loved working with [Elisabeth Shue] on many levels, first as the character but then just the person.” He revealed that “it was very much life imitating art or art imitating life,” as they “hadn’t seen each other much over the years.”
“We got to explore, you know, a part of our relationship we’d never heard before, never seen. We were both so excited to read that and get backstory, and to go on our Golf ‘N Stuff date. It instantly turned the Johnny in me into a 17 year old kid again and it brought a lot of healing to the character, seeing her and all that,” said the actor.
Zabka then mentioned that his character “is in love with Carmen” Diaz (Vanessa Rubio), but asserted that Ali has “been running around with a piece of his heart.”
“She gets to come and they get to reconnect. At the end it’s appropriate that they don’t kiss and they don’t you know — but it’s left open. There’s like a healing about that,” said Zabka.
Elisabeth Shue Also Discussed Ali & Johnny Almost Kissing
During a January 2021 Entertainment Weekly interview, Elisabeth Shue also discussed Ali almost kissing Johnny in season 3, episode 9. The actress stated that she “would have been up for a kiss.”
“Are you kidding me? I’m bummed! They could have had a kiss! I think it was in deference to wanting Johnny to feel that he could go back to his relationship [with Carmen], which meant so much to him, without feeling that he had anything to feel conflicted about. I’m sure that was the reason. Other than that, I would’ve gone right in there and gotten a great one,” said Shue with a laugh.