Cobra Kai Season 3: [SPOILER]’s Return Explained by Ralph Macchio

3 min


Perri Nemiroff

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the Season 3 finale of Cobra Kai.]


It finally happened; Elisabeth Shue returned as Ali in Cobra Kai Season 3! Even though Cobra Kai only first debuted in 2018, it feels like we’ve been speculating about her possible return for forever! Creators Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald and Hayden Schlossberg have been fielding questions on the matter ever since I first started covering the show and time and time again, the trio expertly left the door open to the possibility without ever confirming her return.

Of course you’d never want to spoil a big surprise like that, but those responses also might have something to do with the fact that they didn’t actually lock Shue to reprise the role until production was already underway on Season 3. Here’s how Ralph Macchio put it during our interview:

“It was pretty close to when we were shooting. We knew it was all in the works, but the t’s were crossed and i’s were dotted not long before she arrived, so it was during the season.”

Cobra Kai Season 3: [SPOILER]’s Return Explained by Ralph Macchio 1

In fact, the team behind the show even had a back-up ending just in case things didn’t pan out this time around. Macchio continued:

“There was always a back-up plan and a back-up ending. There was a hard out date where they needed that decision and it was right up to the clock striking 12. But it was a big relief and we got to all tango together again and, like I said, there’s some connection that’s bigger than us with this cast.”

A big relief and also a major plus for the series! Not just because fans have been itching to see Shue back on screen with Macchio and William Zabka, but also because Ali’s return truly does serve the story quite well, something that was a major priority for Shue. Zabka explained:

“She approached it the way we did at the very beginning of this, where she’s very protective of the character and wanted to be represented correctly and for her to not just be thrown into the show for the sake of saying, ‘There’s Ali,’ but that she has a good story. All those things lined up and it was awesome working with her. It was like old times.”

Cobra Kai Season 3: [SPOILER]’s Return Explained by Ralph Macchio 2

While it does sound like all of filming with Shue was a blast, Macchio and Zabka did have particular scenes with Ali that became personal favorites. Macchio began by highlighting a moment at the end of the Christmas party sequence in Episode 10:

“She had a moment where I come back and I want to apologize for years back and she cuts me off. When I turn to leave, it’s such a genuine moment on her face and they put the Karate Kid little love story music under it, and it just really was an ‘awww’ moment for me. It sort of tied it up. I didn’t know it when we shot it because I’m leaving and it was me turning away, and you just stay on her for that moment and there was a whole story in her eyes there that I thought really captured the heart of that sweet little adolescent romance from 36 years ago.”

As for Zabka? It was filming the Golf N’ Stuff material, and not just because it was a big moment for their characters, but also because their real lives started to intersect:

“I think the time when it hit me the most was when we were doing the scene at Golf N’ Stuff after all the fun and the golfing and all that, when we’re just sitting down on the bench and just talking about what our lives are like today. And as that was happening, she’s getting texts from her daughter, I’m dealing with my kids and real life was happening, and so we had this cross of the old and the new coming together in real life, you know? While she’s playing Ali and I’m playing Johnny, I’m also playing dad. It was just so real and so we were sharing something from the past and also something present now, and in the environment of a ferris wheel and the stuffed teddy bear at a Golf N’ Stuff. I had to pinch myself.”

Cobra Kai Season 3: [SPOILER]’s Return Explained by Ralph Macchio 3


If you’d like to hear more from Zabka and Macchio on their experience making Cobra Kai Season 3, you can find the non-spoiler portion of our chat right here. You’ll also want to keep an eye on Collider this weekend because we’ll also have spoiler conversations dropping with Xolo Maridueña, Jacob Bertrand, Mary Mouser, Peyton List and Courtney Henggeler!

Originally published here Collider – Feed


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