The Karate Kid franchise star Ralph Macchio hopes to see a prequel centered on Mr. Miyagi. Macchio plays Daniel LaRusso in the acclaimed franchise, a teen struggling with being bullied who learns to defend himself from a mysterious mentor, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). Over the course of the film, Daniel and Mr. Miyagi learn more about one another and create a heartwarming bond, all while doing plenty of karate training. The Karate Kid spawned two sequels, and a fourth film was later released without Macchio that also featured Mr. Miyagi. Currently, Macchio has reprised his role for the last few years on hit Netflix series Cobra Kai, which just wrapped its fifth season.
Macchio has been vocal over the years about Morita’s lasting impact on the blockbuster ’80s franchise, saying that Mr. Miyagi’s backstory, which included a tragic past involving his service in World War II and the Japanese internment camps in the U.S, elevated the franchise. Sadly, Morita passed away in 2005, but his legacy has been a through-line of Cobra Kai, with Daniel’s character repeatedly finding guidance in his late mentor’s principles and even opening a dojo in his honor. Similarly, Macchio speaks in glowing terms of Morita’s influence on both himself and the larger franchise, and has revealed that he hopes to see the character’s story explored further.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant about his new memoir, Waxing On: The Karate Kid And Me, Macchio reveals that another Karate Kid spinoff he hopes to see in the future is a prequel centered on Mr. Miyagi. Though viewers learned the broad strokes of the character’s past in The Karate Kid, the majority of Mr. Miyagi’s life is still shrouded in mystery. See what he has to say below:
“Whether it be in the front of it, or on the periphery, or just involved in some way – because I was there from the beginning with these characters – I would love to be included in [a spin-off]. And there are those discussions going on, although it is not a solidified idea or production at this point.
“But it seems to me it’s just… How do we not explore the backstory of and the origin of Mr. Miyagi? And what happened? What brought him to that place; working in that apartment in Reseda? What was his life before then? I think that would be fascinating.”
What Is Mr. Miyagi’s Backstory?
The Karate Kid trilogy revealed that Mr. Miyagi spent his childhood in Okinawa, learning karate from his father before his family relocated to California, where he met his wife. Mr. Miyagi then enlisted in WWII, even winning the Medal of Honor before returning to find that his wife and unborn child passed away at the Japanese-American camp they were interned in. However, there is a gap in Mr. Miyagi’s story from his wartime service to when Daniel eventually met him working as a handyman, which would be more fruitful ground for a potential Karate Kid prequel to cover. It is known that Mr. Miyagi accumulated several classic cars during that time, and that he stopped doing karate for many years before Daniel inspired him to go back to it.
Mr. Miyagi seems to have lived an isolated and quiet life until Daniel helped him connect with others once again, but there was a reason he withdrew, and a potential prequel could explore that. Whether it’s set during wartime as a WWII drama, beforehand in Okinawa, or much after, during his time before becoming a handyman in Reseda, it’s guaranteed to be a compelling tale. Though Macchio doesn’t say whether he envisions the prequel spinoff as a movie or series, it seems more likely that a series would be made since prequel shows are on the rise with projects such as The Winchesters and Better Call Saul. If a Mr. Miyagi Karate Kid spinoff does eventually get green-lit, it’s clear that Macchio would be eager to join the production.