Meet The New Karate Kid Who Will Team Up With Jackie Chan And Ralph Macchio

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Sony Pictures has cast Ben Wang as its new Karate Kid. The announcement came after an extensive global search, which saw 10,000 submissions pouring in within 24 hours of the initial casting call. Best known for his role in the Disney+ series American Born Chinese, Wang’s standout audition not only secured him the coveted role but also showcased a deep connection to the character.

Ben Wang Is The Next Karate Kid

Wang happens to be fluent in Mandarin and proficient in various martial arts forms, including karate, wing chun/kung fu, gumdo, kempo, and taekwondo, which helped him secure the Karate Kid role. Viewers familiar with his work in American Born Chinese will have seen some of his talents in action in the popular coming-of-age series adapted from the novel by Gene Luen Yang.

Ralph Macchio And Jackie Chan Team For The New Film

The highly anticipated new Karate Kid movie will see the return of two iconic figures from the franchise – Jackie Chan and Ralph Macchio. While plot details are scarce, the story is said to take place on the East Coast, focusing on a teenager from China who finds strength and guidance through martial arts and a seasoned mentor or two.The currently untitled Karate Kid movie will be directed by Jonathan Entwistle, who previously worked on teen dramas like I’m Not Okay With This and The End of the F***ing World. Rob Lieber, who previously worked on Peter Rabbit and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, will handle script writing duties. The film is set for release on December 13, 2024.

Forty Years Of The Karate Kid

The popular martial arts franchise began with The Karate Kid in 1984. The movie stars Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso, a teenager who has moved to a new town and is bullied by Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and other students of the Cobra Kai dojo. Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), the maintenance man of Daniel’s apartment building, agrees to teach him karate to defend himself.Mr. Miyagi’s unconventional training methods involve household chores that unknowingly build muscle memory and technique. As Daniel progresses, he competes in the All-Valley Karate Tournament, facing Johnny in the final. Despite injuries, Daniel executes the “crane kick” technique Miyagi taught him and wins the tournament.

The Franchise Grows

The Karate Kid was a commercial success, earning over $130 million worldwide. The film received glowing reviews from critics and audiences who praised the inspirational story, strong performances, and memorable scenes. Pat Morita earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work as Mr. Miyagi.

Its success led to three sequels, The Karate Kid Part II (1986), The Karate Kid Part III (1989), and The Next Karate Kid (1994), starring Hilary Swank. While they had varying degrees of success, none matched the cultural impact of the original. In 2010 a reboot titled The Karate Kid was released, starring Jaden Smith as Dre Parker and Jackie Chan as Mr. Han.

Cobra Kai Restores Interest In The Franchise

Cobra Kai cast

In 2018 a sequel series titled Cobra Kai was released on YouTube Premium (later moved to Netflix). It revisits the original characters, with Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprising their roles as Daniel and Johnny, respectively. The sixth and final season will be released later this year.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter