As fans of the Karate Kid franchise are aware, Daniel LaRusso’s (Ralph Macchio) relationship with Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) comes to an end after less than a year of dating. At the start of the 1986 film The Karate Kid Part II, a heated Daniel tells his sensei Mr. Miyagi that Ali informed him “she’s just fallen in love with some football player at UCLA.” Shue did not portray Ali again until the third season of the acclaimed series Cobra Kai.
Screen Rant reported that Shue was not in the Karate Kid sequels because she resumed her life as a Harvard University student. However, the actress was not fond of how her character departed from the franchise.
Shue Stated That Ali’s Departure ‘Didn’t Feel So Great’
While speaking to ABC News Radio in May 2019, Shue suggested that she was hesitant to join the Cobra Kai cast because of Ali’s exit.
“In Karate Kid II, my character was kind of pushed aside in a way that didn’t feel so great,” noted the actress. “So it’s funny how the idea of Ali coming back [started]. 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?”
In a 2019 interview on the Collider podcast, the “Karate Kid” himself Ralph Macchio revealed that Shue had spoken to him about her character’s departure in 1986.
“I saw her at the 86 World Series… I saw her and I walked up and she was questioning — not directly to me — but she asked me why they did that to her character… why would they ever just write her off that way,” stated Macchio.
He went on to say that he could not recall how Daniel and Ali ended their relationship “but it was a one off so they didn’t have to deal with her character in the sequel.”
The Co-Creators of ‘Cobra Kai’ Agreed With Shue’s Assessment
In a recent interview with Insider, Cobra Kai’s co-creators and executive producers Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald, and Hayden Schlossberg revealed that they shared Shue’s opinion on the matter. To rectify Ali, they allowed the character to share her perspective regarding her break up with Daniel during Season 3, Episode 10.
“We didn’t like that reason. Elisabeth didn’t like that reason. So we tried to think of a way to make a way that didn’t make Daniel out to be a liar but also gave Ali her own side of the story,” stated Schlossberg.
Hurwitz provided similar information, telling the publication:
Hearing what happened at the start of [The Karate Kid Part II] was such a bummer for us. So we knew when we brought [Ali] on the show we would find a way to explain and get her side of the story.
During the episode, Ali explains to Amanda LaRusso (Courtney Henggeler) how the events transpired. She stated that she “got into UCLA and … ran into this guy [she] knew who went there.” Daniel saw the interaction and determined that she was “in love with the guy,” despite not having any evidence to back up his assumption.