Season 3 of Cobra Kai struck Netflix like a crane kick on January 1. While new and old Karate Kid fans are watching new episodes, Season 4, which is sure to strike like a surprise wedge sometime next year, has already renewed the series.
But how long does the series actually run? It sure seems like it takes time to build up its characters and themes in a way that few would have expected from a simple episode of Karate Kid. Well, the slowness is deliberate, according to the developers.
‘Cobra Kai’ could run for years to come,
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Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg’s Cobra Kai showrunners have made no secret that they have a longer game in mind for the season.
In their recent discussion about some characters coming and going in the plot, this was made clear.
They again expanded on those plans in an interview with TV Line and gave viewers an idea of how many seasons they could expect. Warning spoiler: that’s a lot more than four.
“We have an endgame in our minds,” Heald said. “We’ve had one for quite some time, and it’s not in Season 4, it’s way beyond that. In our heads, we have a story worth many seasons that we need to tell before we get to that endgame.
That’s going to be a conversation that we’ll have with our new Netflix partners.
Should we write about the endgame? Can we know that it’s coming?
Heald went on to say that in TV production, no matter how good a series is, you can’t always count on having as many seasons as you need.
The team continues to write Cobra Kai with the same expected pace in mind for now, though, heading into Season 4.
“That’s not always the case with television and we respect that,” Heald explained. “Right now, we’re continuing to write at the same pace and with the same path that we’ve been on from the beginning.”
There was no interest in longer series from Netflix and other streaming services.
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‘Cobra Kai’ has so far been a major hit for Netflix, consistently leading the most-watched shows of the channel in the US. But as many fans have learned painfully, all the popularity in the world does not seem to guarantee anything in the new streaming environment.
The fact that streaming services like Netflix and others are not interested in expanding series beyond three or four seasons is an open secret these days.
The economic models of streaming services, which see new series as being more likely to draw new viewers, are responsible for this phenomenon. On the other hand, older shows appear to have a steady base of viewers and become more costly with time, making it difficult to justify renewals.
However, there may be exceptions. On a fourth season, Stranger Things is in development and seems set to run as long as it needs. It can possibly get away with it because it’s one of the most popular Netflix shows, if not the most, and therefore one of the world’s most popular.
Like Big Mouth, which was extended to its sixth season, animated series with more stable budgets can also last a while.