Morita never recaptured the mega success of the "Karate Kid" movies, returning to television roles. He was so closely identifed with Miyagi that Macchio believed filling his shoes would be the most difficult.
"I think the tallest order is filling the void of Mr. Miyagi," Macchio told the Post. "He's like a human Yoda and casting Jackie Chan was a smart move."
Chan, the Hong Kong action star who found mainstream success in action-comedy films, brings his comedic side to "The Karate Kid" remake, where he takes up the role as the handyman-turned-kung fu master who teaches Dre how to beat the bully.
Jaden Smith, who plays Dre, is on his way to becoming a star much like his dad. At the ripe age of 11, the young actor, who first appeared on screen with his father in "The Pursuit of Happyness," has been cast in his first starring role.
He's also showing some of his father's musical prowess. Jaden teamed with teen heartthrob Justin Beiber for the film's theme song "Never Say Never." Jaden is the one rapping.
Johnny Lawrence/William Zabka
William Zabka, who played the villain Johnny Lawrence then and now.
Zabka made his mark on Hollywood playing Macchio's nemesis in the original "Karate Kid." He also reprised his role briefly in the sequel.
Macchio sang his praises last year to the Post. "Oh man, Billy Zabka is the ultimate '80s bad guy," he said.
Zabka, now 44, continued to play the bully role in '80s comedies. He also co-starred in the hit TV series "The Equalizer."
In the '90s and 2000s, he acted sporadically while studying to become a filmmaker. A short film he made in 2004 was nominated for an Academy Award.
Don't look for him to make a cameo in the latest "Karate Kid," though he did spoof himself in a 2007 music video he directed for his band. The video, in which Macchio also appeared, went viral.
Julie Pierce/Hilary Swank
Hilary Swank from the 1994 sequel and now.
Swank's first major screen role was playing Julie, a resentful teenager who Miyagi takes under his wing as his latest student in "The Next Karate Kid."
But her career really took off in 1999 when she starred as a transgender man in "Boys Don't Cry," winning the Academy Award for best actress. As if to prove that was no fluke, she took the Oscar again in 2004 in Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby."
At 35, Swank is a bonafide movie star. Her personal life has had its ups and downs, though. Since divorcing husband Chad Lowe in 2006, she's been linked to her agent John Campisi.