There is perhaps no more improbable hit on TV right now than the Karate Kid spinoff, Cobra Kai. As a result of its immense popularity, it’s managed to bring on key actors from the movie franchise throughout its four seasons. However, perhaps the franchise’s most prized gem, Hilary Swank, has not yet reprised her role.
Fortunately, that doesn’t mean she won’t. With Season 4 of the Netflix series in fans’ rearview mirrors, there’s really no telling where the show could go moving forward. Characters like Martin Kove as John Kreese, Elisabeth Shue as Ali Mills, Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver, Yuji Okumoto as Chozen, and many more have joined William Zabka and Ralph Macchio’s Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso respectively. However, with only four movies in the franchise to pull from, many fans are wondering if they’ll run out or if Hilary Swank will step up to the plate.
Speaking in an interview with Fandom, executive producers Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, & Hayden Schlossberg explained that they are more than happy to include Swank in the show if she is willing to sign on to reprise her role as Julie Pierce from the fourth installment in the franchise, the 1994 movie The Next Karate Kid. Specifically, Hurtiwtz dodged a question about Hilary Swank joining the franchise, joking that they can’t say whether she would be in future episodes of the show, but hinted that they have been in talks with her. However, he made it clear that they would all remain tight-lipped about a Hilary Swank cameo until she shows up on screen or the series ends.
For those unfamiliar, Hilary Swank was brought in for a fourth movie when Macchio was too old to reprise his role as a Karate kid. The late Pat Morita’s Mr. Miyagi traveled to Boston to talk with a war buddy’s family where he meets a troubled young woman with severe anger issues and an aptitude for martial arts. He trains her both in combat as well as techniques to control herself and her emotions. While the movie wasn’t bad, it wasn’t the same and no sequel starring Hilary Swank’s Julie Pierce ever came to be. However, she remains an untapped part of the Karate Kid universe, trained in Miyagi-Do, thus making her a perfect inclusion into Cobra Kai.
Unfortunately, now is a bad time to ask Hilary Swank if she plans on being in the Karate Kid franchise going forward. Days before the interview with Fandom came out, Hilary Swank revealed that her father, Stephen Michael Swank, had died in October at age 73.
That said, there is a lot of runway left on Cobra Kai. Although Season 4 concluded with no cameo by Hilary Swank, Season 5 is in the pipeline at Netflix and the creators recently told Collider that they’re writing the new episodes as though Season 6 will happen. So, if Hilary Swank decides to join the team, all they would need to do is pencil her in for a future episode or even story arc that would finally reunite her with Ralph Macchio — bringing the two canonical Karate Kids together for the first time on-screen.