Cobra Kai Creators Talk S05 Surprise Alliances, Carmen, Kreese & More
One of the more exciting dynamics of Cobra Kai season five is when former enemies of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) decide to ally together to take down their common enemy. No, not revenge on Daniel, but Cobra Kai king Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) himself in the season finale. Creators Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald spoke about a variety of subjects regarding the major arcs of season five. This is your major spoilers warning.
One of the most shocking alliances is the one between Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto), and Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) mainly because we don't know where Silver's former student's allegiances lie. It's revealed Mike is living quietly as the owner of a furniture store with his wife in his life after karate, only to find his business burned down not long after his interaction with Daniel. "Well, I'll say as a fan that may be one of our favorite moments of the entire series — just when Daniel comes out of this stretch limo and all his antagonists from the first three movies, Johnny, Chozen, and Barnes, are all there," Schlossberg said. "And they're drunk or high or whatever, and they just wanna kick Silver's ass. And Daniel is the voice of reason, like, "What are we doing right now? That bizarre kind of Hangover wolf pack foursome was just so much fun to film. Now that that's out there in the ether, I think we'll want to jump back into that."
Another figure from Daniel's past who came back is Jessica Andrews, with Robyn Lively reprising her role from The Karate Kid Part III (1989). "This came about in the season 5 writers' room. It was not something that we've been thinking this whole time. We've known that we wanted to bring Jessica back," Hurwitz said. "We love the character, and we've been in touch with Robyn Lively for a while. She loves the show, and she had mentioned if there was ever something that made sense to the story that she'd be game for coming on. We always had her in mind, and [this idea] really came from a place of thinking about where Daniel was [emotionally] this season and Daniel and Amanda's relationship in particular."
Bringing Lively in also helped bridge the narrative with the divide between Macchio's character and Courtney Henggeler's Amanda. "This is a season where Terry Silver is taking over the valley. And the only person who truly understands what a crazy person Terry Silver is capable of being is Daniel, and it's because of what happened to him as a teenager in Karate Kid III. He has all this trauma from his past that no one could understand, and it gets to the point where Amanda's had enough, and Daniel just seems crazy [to her]," Hurwitz explained. "So we thought it would be really fun to see where Amanda came from, and also it would be really helpful for Amanda to get some perspective on what Daniel had been through — and the only person who was there at the time was Jessica."
Another developing arc is how Carmen (Vanessa Rubio) is expecting, meaning Johnny is going to be a father again. "It's quite possible that the visual effects in that scene were, um, overly ambitious. I think my wife, upon first viewing, had the same reaction," Heald on explaining the inconsistency with the pregnancy narrative. "Our timeline is so condensed on this show. In reality, there would be nothing to really see [on an ultrasound at that point] beyond maybe a flash of a heartbeat. But we went with a little bit of suspended belief; we wanted to move things a few weeks along there for that moment to have something visual to connect to. So, I don't think she's a superhero with a pregnancy that would last any less than a normal human pregnancy. [laughs]"
As far as Kreese's (Martin Kove) arc in prison, there's a scene where he deals with figures from his past, including a younger Johnny circa The Karate Kid in 1984, which is Zabka de-aged through CGI. "We love the idea of Kreese in jail having to face his inner demons. There's no escape other than looking in the mirror and having somebody that's trying to reach him," Schlossberg said. "At first, he puts up the shield and tries to bullshit his way through therapy, and then eventually, he just has to give in there. We talked to Marty early in the season. We were like, listen, you're not going to be in the first half of the season. We want the audience to almost forget about Kreese for a second so that when he comes into the story, it has a big impact. Even though you're only in half of the season, that half of the season is going to have some of the most dramatic moments and most human moments that Kreese has ever had. And yet all that humanity, he ends up taking advantage of it later [in order] to help him get out. As for the scene where he's facing all the people from his past, that was an amazing script from Michael Jonathan Smith. We knew that we wanted to get young Johnny in, and Jon can speak to the technical experience of creating young Johnny."
For more on how the Cobra Kai creators explain how Jessica factors into Daniel and Amanda's relationship, the deep fake technology used to recreate young Johnny, Chozen's romantic ambitions, the upcoming international tournament in the Sekai Takei, spinoffs, and more, check out the complete EW interview here.