Why Was Dutch Left Out of Cobra Kai?

Dutch Karate Kid

YouTube Dutch (Chad McQueen) attempts to face off Daniel (Ralph Macchio) in "The Karate Kid."

Since its premiere in 2018, Cobra Kai has delighted fans by continuing the storylines of many beloved characters from the Karate Kid film franchise. However, one prominent member of the 1984 Cobra Kai team, Dutch, played by Chad McQueen, has been noticeably absent, as reported by Screen Rant

However, he is mentioned throughout the series. For instance, in Season 1, Episode 8, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) talks about his relationship with his ex-girlfriend Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) and how it caused his rivalry with Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio). While explaining the situation to Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña), he states that he and a group of friends went to go see Rocky III because “Dutch was a huge Mr. T fan.” The karate instructor went on to say that they sat “in front of” … “this group of cute chicks,” and Dutch “started throwing Milk Duds at them.” Ali ended up confronting the group, which was Johnny’s first interaction with her. 

Dutch Is Serving Time in Federal Prison

Chad McQueen

GettyChad McQueen strikes a pose for the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival in 2015.

Dutch is referenced again in Season 2, Episode 6, titled “Take a Right.” The plot of the episode revolves around former Cobra Kai members, Jimmy (Tony O’Dell), Bobby (Ron Thomas), and Johnny taking Tommy (Rob Garrison) — who is terminally ill– on a road trip.  

While at a bar in Big Bear, they discuss an instance from high school, in which Tommy had a “horrible fake ID.” Eventually, the discussion turns to a party that they all attended, where Dutch was severely inebriated. 

“Dutch got so hammered, he stole the dartboard,” says Jimmy. 

Bobby was quick to correct him, stating, “No, no, he didn’t steal he smashed it. That’s the first time he went to juvie.”

After Johnny reveals that Ali broke up with him because he “got so wasted that night” and “missed [her] birthday,” he proposes a toast to Dutch, who is serving time at Lompoc Federal Prison. 

“To Dutch. When the judge said, ‘five to ten’ — ” says Johnny, before being interrupted by Bobby.   

“She really meant ten to 20,” interjected the pastor. 

The group of friends share a laugh, as they clink their glasses together. 

One of Cobra Kai‘s Co-Creators Commented on Dutch’s Absence

Chad McQueen Steve McQueen

GettyChad McQueen stands in front of a poster for “Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans” at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival.

While speaking to Entertainment Weekly in 2019, one of Cobra Kai’s co-creators and executive producers, Josh Heald, explained Dutch was not featured in “Take a Right” due to McQueen’s lack of availability. 

“We actually talked to Chad. Schedules were such that it wasn’t feasible for him to join us this time around,” said Heald. 

He went on to say that McQueen could reprise his role as Dutch on the show, stating, 

[W]e certainly mentioned his character being alive and in a very particular place on purpose. We could perhaps visit that story another time.

While Heald did not specify what McQueen’s exact schedule conflict was, Screen Rant noted that he stopped being an actor 20 years ago “to pursue a career as a racecar [sic] driver.” The publication noted McQueen, who is the son of actor and race car driver Steve McQueen, seemed to be mirroring his father’s career path. 

In a 2017 interview with Sunday Times Driving, the owner of McQueen Racing disclosed that his famous father’s passion for cars deeply influenced him. 

“When I was 10 we spent the summer with Dad in France, where he was filming [the motor racing movie] Le Mans. At the track, he swings open the door of this Porsche [racing car], waved me over and sat me on his lap,” explained McQueen. “To me, it seemed like we were going a million miles an hour, but I don’t think he actually went much over 120. For one split second, when we were driving, my dad took his hands off the wheel, so I was steering. His love of cars was so infectious, it screwed me up for life.”

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