Netflix hit Karate Kid spinoff show Cobra Kai may require rewrites and recasting for being “too white and problematic” and may face delays.
The former YouTube Original show Cobra Kai is a huge success on Netflix, so much — in fact — that season 4 was fast tracked through production. Sadly, the show has met some resistance and the producers may be forced to make the show more diverse.
The “whiteness of Cobra Kai” and the show’s lack of diversity is a trending topic at the moment. Many mainstream blogs are attacking the show for it’s lack off diversity, specifically for Asian people. Now the noise has made it all the way to the studio and the producers are reportedly being forced to fix the “diversity issue” of Cobrai Kai.
According to a source close to productions Netflix is putting the pressure on the producers to not only add more Asian people but also trans and people of colour. This either means recasting certain characters or a rewrite.
The second season was slammed for glorifying toxic masculinity and conservative norms. As pointed out by Casey Chail of The Federalist, one of the show’s core theme is family, and how important it for a child to have a strong role model father figure in their lives.
Another theme that really seemed to bother critics was that the show draws a clear line between girls and boys, highlighting the ups and downs, pros and cons, of both genders. This also outraged the trans community as many people who belong to the LGBTQ+ group strongly disagree.
Now, shortly after the premiere of season 3, Cobrai Kai is under fire again, and this time for its whiteness.
An African-Asian American staff writer for The Los Angeles Times, Jen Yamato, published a protest piece on Netflix’s Cobra Ka titled” At Netflix, ‘Cobra Kai’ broke out. Now its whiteness is under a new spotlight,” where she takes aim at the show for having too many white leads in a show that is primarily about Chinese/Japanese culture.
This is not the first time Jen Yamato has attacked white people in films. She also heavily criticised the creators of the live-action version of The Ghost In The Shell for casting white actress Scarlet Johansson as the lead. She accused the producers of “blatant whitewashing” and likened it to a racist attack on her culture.
According to a source close to the Cobra Kai production, Jen Yamato’s article has been circulating Netflix and a few key players are now putting pressure on the studio to fix their diversity issues for the season 4.
“It’s hard to argue with them because this is such a sensitive matter. Of course we want more diversity in the show, but it is pretty much impossible without a rewrite and a recasting if we need to do it for season 4,” the source explained. “We’re hoping that, if we get renewed, we can do this in season 5.”
They continued: “They don’t only want us to add an Asian lead, but also introduce a trans character.”
If the Netflix high-ups are serious about adding more diversity and making this change so suddenly then there’s a good chance that Cobra Kai season 4 may be delayed at least for a few month.