Ralph Macchio Regrets Elisabeth Shue’s Original Karate Kid Exit

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Though she would eventually return to the fold, Ralph Macchio is sharing his regrets about Elisabeth Shue’s original The Karate Kid franchise exit. Macchio starred in the original 1984 movie as Daniel LaRusso, a teenager from New Jersey who moves to Reseda, California with his mom and struggles to adjust to his new surroundings, including the upper class bullies at his high school. In the hopes of both defending himself and beating is bullies at their own game, Daniel learns karate from his eccentric handyman, Mr. Miyagi.

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Part of Daniel’s journey in the original The Karate Kid movie was his relationship with Elisabeth Shue’s Ali Mills, the ex-girlfriend to the film’s antagonist, William Zabka’s Johnny Lawrence. Despite the movie ending with Daniel and Ali in an official relationship, the star would remain absent from the subsequent sequels, with a brief line of dialogue explaining that the two had broken up at some point between the events of The Karate Kid and The Karate Kid Part II. Shue would later reprise her role as Ali in Cobra Kai, this time appearing as a love interest for Johnny before saying her goodbyes to him and Daniel.

Related: Now We Need More Cobra Kai Flashbacks (Because Of Karate Kid 3’s Jessica)

While talking with The Guardian to discuss his memoir Waxing On, Ralph Macchio reflected on his time with The Karate Kid franchise. When asked about Elisabeth Shue’s initial exit after the original movie, the star expressed his regrets over how he handled the departure, namely his lack of defending his co-star’s character being shuffled out. See what Macchio explained below:

I never looked at it from the perspective of Ali’s character or from the perspective of Elisabeth as an actor. As an older person, there was a recognition of missteps, of things I should have done differently. I dunno. They probably would have said to me, ‘Get outside, Macchio, and start practicing your karate kicks.’ Today, I think, there would be a different conversation. Women in movies were often thought to be disposable. I see that now. Then? I didn’t see it. It was a case of youth being wasted on the young. I was swept up in everything that was happening in my life.

Elisabeth Shue’s Karate Kid Exit Explained

Shue’s Karate Kid exit had gone largely unexplained in the 30 years since she left the franchise, with the actor having previously expressed her frustrations from working on the original movie, which subsequently led to her disinterest in returning. Since then, it was revealed that the producers behind the martial arts franchise elected to keep Ali out of the sequels as they hoped to turn Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso into a James Bond-type character, giving him new love interests and sending him to new locations. This would prove to be the case for the first sequel, The Karate Kid Part II, in which Daniel and Mr. Miyagi traveled to his home village on Okinawa and getting close with Tamlyn Tomita’s Kumiko, while the third movie saw him return to Los Angeles and form a bond with Robyn Lively’s Jessica, though he would ultimately stay friends with her.

While Shue may have eventually returned for a brief stint on Cobra Kai, Ralph Macchio’s regrets about her original exit from The Karate Kid franchise is sure to be a touching nod to his costar for fans of the series. As both a new Karate Kid movie are confirmed to be in the work alongside a potential Cobra Kai season 6, it will be interesting to see if Shue’s Ali will get another brief stint in the franchise, or if the creative team will look to bring other familiar faces back to the fold. In the meantime, audiences can revisit Shue’s turn in the series with the original Karate Kid streaming on Showtime and all five seasons of Cobra Kai available on Netflix now.

Next: Sony’s Karate Kid Reboot Already Makes No SenseSource: The Guardian

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