Cobra Kai season 3 trailer, release date, spoilers and everything else we know

Cobra Kai season 3
(Image credit: Netflix)

A new Cobra Kai season 3 release date just dropped, and for once it's good news! The next season will roundhouse-kick fans into high gear earlier than expected, as Netflix prepares to release the show in just a few weeks. Cobra Kai season 3 already looks amazing from the sneak peek photos and teaser we've seen, but the new trailer has us even more excited since it looks like Johnny and Daniel may be calling a truce in their decades-long rivalry. 

Cobra Kai returns after a long wait since the jaw-dropping finale that left one major character dangerously injured and another seemingly quitting karate altogether. Season 3 will head halfway around the world to delve into an iconic figure's past.

Spoiler alert: The following story has spoilers for Cobra Kai seasons 1 and 2.

Cobra Kai has been a huge hit for Netflix since it debuted on the service, earning a spot in its Top 10 list for several weeks straight. The series first premiered on YouTube Red in 2018, but moved to Netflix in August 2020. 

The show follows former teen enemies Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) a few decades after their infamous martial arts battle in the first Karate Kid movie. Now, they're older, though not necessarily wiser. 

After Johnny helped Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) fend off some bullies, he reopened the Cobra Kai dojo. In response, Daniel vowed to shut it down. Things got more complicated when Daniel's daughter Samantha (Mary Mouser) began dating Miguel, and when Daniel started mentoring Johnny's son, Robby (Tanner Buchanan), in karate.

Everything came to a head in the season 2 finale, when a huge brawl among the teenagers at their school left Miguel's future hanging int he balance.

Cobra Kai season 3 will take Daniel back to Okinawa, which he visited in The Karate Kid II movie. "I have been to Okinawa for some shooting of Cobra Kai season three, which I cannot talk too much about," Macchio revealed on Conan. "But I can say it dives into the origin of Miyagi Do Karate. We learn a little bit, some secrets of past history that is new to the audience, and to LaRusso, my character, and we actually went to Okinawa to shoot."

Here's everything you need to know about Cobra Kai season 3. 

Cobra Kai season 3 release date

Cobra Kai season 3 will be released January 1, 2021 on Netflix. The original Jan. 8 date was revealed on the official Twitter account, but then they bumped it up, as seen below:

Cobra Kai season 3 completed filming on season 3 before the end of 2019, which means the show was able to avoid delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Co-creator Josh Heald told CBR, "Thankfully with season 3, we wrapped production before the end of 2019 ... We were still doing some finishing touches for the effects and some quality checks on season 3 while the quarantine aspect of the pandemic was just beginning but we finished our final mix – the last big piece of post-production — that was done in-person with raising champagne and eating cupcakes and all the things you do to feel like you're at your absolute unhealthiest coming out of the completion of a season."

Cobra Kai season 3 trailer

Will Daniel and Johnny finally put aside their differences and call a truce in their feud? Could be! In the Cobra Kai season 3 trailer, Daniel says, "The only way to end this is by working together." Will Johnny accept his overture?

The trailer also confirms the casting rumors that the season 3 will feature characters from Karate Kid II. We see glimpses of onetime nemesis Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) and former love interest Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita). But no sign of Elisabeth Shue!

Previously, Netflix dropped a teaser trailer along with its release date announcement. The clip doesn't reveal much, but it does show Miguel opening his eyes in the hospital after his terrible fall in the finale.

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And before that, there was another teaser that mostly featured clips from the first two seasons. But there was one tantalizing sneak peek at Daniel traveling to Okinawa, the home of Mr. Miyagi!

Cobra Kai season 3 photos

Netflix recently released eight photos from Cobra Kai season 3. None reveal big spoilers, but we do spy Robby in a detention center and old rivals Johnny, Daniel and John Kreese sitting uncomfortably together.

Cobra Kai season 3 cast

Cobra Kai season 3 is bringing back most of its main cast, headlined by William Zabka as Johnny and Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso. 

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Also returning is Xolo Maridueña as Miguel Diaz. The end of season 2 left Miguel's fate in the balance, but the actor confirmed on Twitter that he completed filming on the new season. And the latest teaser clearly shows Miguel's eyes opening in the hospital. 

He'll be joined by his fellow younger cast members, including Tanner Buchanan as Robby Keene (Johnny's son) and Mary Mouser as Samantha LaRusso (Daniel's daughter). 

Other karate kids who will likely continue kicking around are Jacob Bertrand as Eli "Hawk" Moskowitz, Gianni Decenzo as Demetri, Nichole Brown as Aisha Robinson and Peyton List as Tory Nichols.  

Also expected to return are Courtney Henggeler as Amanda LaRusso (Daniel's wife) and Vanessa Rubio as Carmen Diaz (Miguel's mother). 

As far as familiar faces from the movies, Martin Kove will be back as John Kreese, Johnny's old mentor. And the full-length trailer showed Karate Kid II cast members Yuji Okumoto as Chozen and Tamlyn Tomita as Kumiko .

Plus, rumor has it that Elisabeth Shue will reprise her role as Ali, the love interest who sparked the rivalry between Daniel and Johnny back in the day. 

Cobra Kai season 3 spoilers and plot

When Cobra Kai season 3 is released, it'll have some major cliffhangers to resolve from the season finale (which you can stream now on Netflix).

First is the health and status of Miguel, who was badly injured after a fight broke out at school. He and Robby got into it, but so did other members of the Cobra Kai crew. Samantha also received some scrapes, leading her mother to give Daniel an ultimatum to shut down Miyagi-do. 

The fight also resulted in Johnny losing control over Cobra Kai, with most of his students pledging to follow Kreese (who secretly took over the space while Johnny was on his trip to San Bernardino). Despondent and guilt-ridden, Johnny threw his cell phone away at the beach — missing a Facebook friend request from his old high school flame, Ali. 

When season 3 premieres, there may be a time jump. Zabka told Collider, "[Johnny] wasn't doing too well at the end of Season 2, and you know, it picks up a little bit later in time after Season 2, Season 3 does, so you're going to meet the result of what those events would do to someone like Johnny Lawrence."

Since we know that Maridueña filmed season 3, Miguel obviously survives his injuries. Whether he's recovered enough to return to karate training is the question. 

As for Ali's friend request, it prompted speculation that Elisabeth Shue would be the next original movie cast member to reprise her role in the series. But there's no confirmation yet that she'll appear. 

Netflix's trailers have shown that Daniel goes to Okinawa, Mr. Miyagi's original home, which he last visited in The Karate Kid II. And it looks like we'll see him reencounter Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) and Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita). 

As Macchio told Conan O'Brien, Daniel will "learn a little bit, some secrets of past history that is new to the audience, and to LaRusso." 

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.