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New Karate Kid movie with Ralph Macchio and Jackie Chan in the works

Following the success of the TV series Cobra Kai, a new Karate Kid movie featuring Ralph Macchio and Jackie Chan has been announced, along with a global casting call to find a teenage star for the film.

Macchio, who starred in the first three Karate Kid movies between 1984 and 1989 before returning to anchor Cobra Kai which first aired in 2018, and Chan, who appeared in the 2010 reboot starring Jaden Smith, appeared together in a short video to make the announcement. The casting notice suggested the film will also feature a new character called Li Fong, who is “Chinese or mixed-race Chinese [aged] between 15-17 years old [and] speaks fluent English”. The website added: “Conversational Mandarin is a strong plus. He’s smart, scrappy and a skilled martial artist.”

The presence of both Macchio and Chan appears to indicate that separate strands of the Karate Kid series will both be present in the new film. The so-called “Miyagi-verse”, revolving around the Japanese-American coach-mentor figure played by the late Pat Morita, operated in the first three films with Macchio, as well as the 1994 follow-up The Next Karate Kid, featuring Hilary Swank opposite Morita. Cobra Kai, which is named after the dojo where Macchio’s character Daniel LaRusso defeated Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) at the climax of the first film, also operates in the “Miyagi-verse”, with Morita (who died in 2005) appearing in flashbacks.

However, the 2010 film relocated the action to China, replaced the principal martial art of karate with kung fu, and cast Chan in the Miyagi-style mentor/coach role of Mr Han.

Variety reports the film will be directed by Jonathan Entwistle (creator of hit TV series The End of the F***ing World), and is due to be released in December 2024.