The New ‘Karate Kid’ Movie Finds its Kid in Ben Wang

Ben Wang stars in ‘American Born Chinese.’ Photo: Disney/Carlos Lopez-Calleja.


  • Ben Wang has landed the main role in the new ‘Karate Kid’ movie.
  • Franchise veterans Jackie Chan and Ralph Macchio will star.
  • The movie is scheduled to be released in December.

Back in November, we learned that Sony was looking to revisit its popular ‘Karate Kid’ franchise with a new idea –– combining the leads from both iterations, the 1980s-set original movies and the 2010 re-imagining.

Ralph Macchio, who played freshly-transplanted Brooklyn teen Daniel LaRusso, who struggles to fit in in his new California home and who is trained by wise, quirky Karate sensei Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) will be back from the ‘80s movies.

And Jackie Chan, who played Mr. Han, a master of kung-fu (quite while it’s still called ‘The Karate Kid’ is a mystery to us) who trains young Dre (Jaden Smith) to fight back against bullies after he and his mother move to China, is returning from the 2010 outing.

The storylines would seem to exist in entirely different cinematic universes, but if comic book movies have taught us anything these days, it’s that universes can crash into each other all the time.

Back then, a key element still missing was the actual “Kid” of the title, but despite Chan and Macchio helping to launch a global casting search that saw 10,000 entries in the first 24 hours, The Hollywood Reporter brings bad news for the unknowns who were hoping to launch a career: Ben Wang has landed the role.

What’s the story of the new ‘Karate Kid’ movie?

Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso in 1984's 'The Karate Kid.'

Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso in 1984’s ‘The Karate Kid.’ Photo: Columbia Pictures.

The movie, which has yet to announce a formal title (besides being a ‘Karate Kid’ film), is largely keeping its plot under wraps, but the latest iteration will reportedly bring the story to the East Coast and focus on a teen from China who finds strength and direction via martial arts and a tough but wise mentor.

Related Article: Ralph Macchio and Jackie Chan to Team Up for New ‘Karate Kid’ Movie

Who is Ben Wang?

Ben Wang stars in 'American Born Chinese.'

Ben Wang stars in ‘American Born Chinese.’ Photo: Disney/Carlos Lopez-Calleja.

Wang will likely be best known to audiences for Disney+ series ‘American Born Chinese’, which featured Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan, and was developed by Kelvin Yu and ‘Shang-Chi’ filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton. Sadly for the show, Disney recently cancelled it after one season.

Wang has also had roles in the recent ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘Chang Can Dunk

He apparently delivered an excellent audition and brings several advantages to the role, including fluency in Mandarin and skill in a variety of martial arts.

Who is making the new ‘Karate Kid’ movie?

Jackie Chan as Mr. Han and Jaden Smith as Dre Parker in 2010's 'The Karate Kid.'

(L to R) Jackie Chan as Mr. Han and Jaden Smith as Dre Parker in 2010’s ‘The Karate Kid.’ Photo: Sony Pictures.

Jonathan Entwistle, known for his and award-winning teen television dramas ‘I’m Not Okay with This’ and ‘The End of the F***ing World’, is directing the movie from a script by Rob Lieber, whose past credits include Sony’s ‘Peter Rabbit’ and Disney’s ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day’.

When will the new ‘Karate Kid’ movie be in theaters?

With a “kid” now in place, Sony can be more confident in getting this one moving, having already planted a flag in a December 13th, release date, with a shoot penciled in for this coming spring.

Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso and Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi in 1984's 'The Karate Kid.'

(L to R) Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso and Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi in 1984’s ‘The Karate Kid.’

Other Movies in ‘The Karate Kid’ Franchise:

Buy ‘The Karate Kid’ Movies on Amazon

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