A new ‘Karate Kid’ film is in the works: Here is a look back at the franchise’s movies and spinoffs

“The Karate Kid” has held on to the hype from the original films for decades. Since the first movies were created in the ’80s, there have been a multitude of spinoffs and reboots that have drawn attention and fans to the franchise, while also maintaining an original fanbase of the classics. 

Sony Pictures officially announced a new film, which will star Ralph Macchio and Jackie Chan.

Macchio and Chan were both featured in the announcement video for the upcoming film posted by Sony Pictures Entertainment. In addition to announcing the new film, the stars also revealed that the studio is conducting a “global search” to find the “next karate kid.”

Although the Dec. 13, 2024, release date of the movie has been set, the storyline is presently unknown. Though it is anticipated to be a climactic one, as Macchio and Chan are part of two different “Karate Kid” stories. 

Macchio plays Daniel LaRusso in the first three “Karate Kid” films and the television series “Cobra Kai.” Chan plays Mr. Han in the 2010 “Karate Kid” reboot, with Jaden Smith as his young kung fu prodigy. These two story lines have remained separate. As of now, it is unclear how the original “Karate Kid” story, the events of “Cobrai Kai” and the story of the 2010 reboot will all tie into the new film.

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Here is a look back at all “Karate Kid” movies and shows from over the years.

“The Karate Kid” was born in 1984. This movie introduced characters like LaRusso, Mr. Miyagi (the late Pat Morita) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka).

This movie highlights the beginning of young LaRusso’s martial arts journey under his instructor, Mr. Miyagi. LaRusso’s introduction to martial arts was sparked by bullying following a move to a new town.

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The sequel to the original film came out just a couple of years later. The second film takes place just after the first, but in a different setting. Most of this movie takes place in Mr. Miyagi’s hometown of Okinawa, Japan.

The third installment of the franchise stars quite a few of the same cast members from the previous films, with a few important additions.

This movie is more centered on the franchise’s villain John Kreese (Martin Kove) and the Cobra Kai dojo. 

In the third movie, Kreese turns to his old Vietnam War companion Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), who, together, devise a plan to take LaRusso and Miyagi down.

Also in 1989, there were three episodes of an animated series released loosely based on the original films.

“The Next Karate Kid” is the only movie in the original franchise that doesn’t star Macchio’s character, but Morita still stars as Mr. Miyagi in the film. 

A young girl named Julie Pierce, played by Hiliary Swank, is the star of the film. 

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It was a whopping 16 years later when another “Karate Kid” movie was brought back to the big screens, but this time, it was a reboot starring an entirely unique cast. Although there were various new cast members, the storyline primarily followed the one set by the original movie.

This move takes place in China where a young boy, played by Smith, is taught kung fu by Mr. Han, played by Chan.

The first season of the “Cobrai Kai” television series was released in 2018. The show has gone on for five seasons, with a sixth and final season announced at the beginning of the year.

This show has brought back previous stars, including Macchio, Zabka, Kove and Griffith. Randee Heller, Elisabeth Shue, Tamlyn Tomita, Yuji Okumoto, the late Rob Garrison, Ron Thomas and Tony O’Dell have also made appearances on the series.

The series also introduces new characters to the “Karate Kid” world, like Xolo Maridueña, Tanner Buchanan, Jacob Bertrand, Peyton List and Mary Mouser, who learn martial arts throughout the seasons. 

The show brings an unlikely, on and off friendship between LaRusso and Lawrence, bitter enemies in the original franchise. The sixth season, which will mark the conclusion of the “Cobra Kai” series, is set to be released sometime in 2024.

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