Ralph Macchio famously portrayed Daniel LaRusso in the first three films in the “Karate Kid” franchise. Since 2018, he has reprised the role in the acclaimed series “Cobra Kai,” which is available to watch on Netflix. However, his character was not featured in the 1994 film “The Next Karate Kid.” In the movie, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) takes on another student, Julie Pierce (Hilary Swank), who has been acting out because of her parents and grandfather’s death.
Ralph Macchio Spoke About Not Starring In the Sequel During a 2018 Interview
Due to the fact that Swank replaced Macchio as the star of the franchise, some fans may be curious if he has an issue with the Academy Award-winning actress. In a 2018 interview with Uproxx, Macchio discussed why he was not involved with “The Next Karate Kid.” The actor explained he was aware that the studio was producing the sequel but had not been approached to return as Daniel. He told the publication:
I wonder if the truth lies here… if this came across the agent’s desk at one point, but usually, that always comes to me. I know [“The Karate Kid” director] John G. Avildsen didn’t make the movie, I know Robert Mark Kamen [who wrote the first three “Karate Kid” films] did not write the movie. So the original creators weren’t involved, and I think it was just… my assumption was [there was] an idea from the studio to continue on, and they got Pat [Morita] to sign on with that idea. And I had heard they were making it, and probably almost dealt with it the first time I heard about it. It was kind of odd for me.
He went on to say that he did not have any animosity toward Morita for starring in the project without him. The actor noted, however, that they never discussed the film. He then implied that he also does not resent Swank for playing Miyagi’s new student. Rather, the actor seems to believe that they share a bond because they were a part of the “Karate Kid” franchise.
“I have run into Hilary Swank once or twice and we have had an internal smile about it all,” said Macchio.
Macchio Commented On Whether Swank Will Reprise Her Role on “Cobra Kai”
Fans of the martial arts franchise have theorized Julie may appear during the fourth season of “Cobra Kai,” which is currently in production. In a January interview on the “Sway” podcast, Macchio commented on the likelihood of Swank reprising her role.
“Anyone’s who’s part of the Miyagi verse — any character that appeared during the Miyagi-verse, which was during the life of Mr. Miyagi, and any of those sequels is canon for the show, so who knows,” said the 59-year-old.
In a December 2020 interview with CinemaBlend, one of the “Cobra Kai” co-creators and executive producers Jon Hurwitz noted that there is a chance Julie could be a part of the San Fernando Valley’s karate scene. He explained that the show’s writing staff have “spoken about [the character].”
“As to whether or not she’ll return to the series, that’s something you’ll just have to wait to find out,” teased Hurwitz.