When Cobra Kai creators and showrunners Josh Heald, Hayden Schlossberg, and Jon Hurwitz thought to bring back The Karate Kid Part III villain Terry Silver, they had two challenges. First, provide an update on the nuclear mogul and what he's been doing since the events of the 1989 film; second, to convince original star Thomas Ian Griffith to return to acting and back into the role for season four. Speaking with Collider, the EPs opened up on Terry's journey back to John Kreese (Martin Kove), what he's learned since, and his growth while falling back to familiar patterns.
"It's probably the same way we looked at Johnny and Daniel at the top of the series," Heald said. "What are the colors we can show that call back to our memories and our feelings about these characters, but what are the colors we can also show that demonstrate a real grounded passage of time? And for some characters that led to more resentment, for some characters that meant more enlightenment. Terry Silver has always been coming. He's always been looming just over the horizon for us so we've been thinking about it for quite some time. It's hard to imagine an even more megalomaniacal version of Terry Silver than that that already existed in Karate Kid III, so we went the other way. We went towards somebody who acknowledges the ills of their past and acknowledges their problems and has been through something of a healing and something of confronting their selves, but we all knew that there would still be something living underneath this character. There would still be these deep-seated feelings that didn't go away, that wasn't dealt with, this mixture of PTSD and survivor's guilt and all of the allegiance that he has to Kreese and to Cobra Kai really was under that kind of volcanic rock that had just covered the Terry Silver we once knew. That was the satisfying story to tell was kind of beginning to see how do we jackhammer away at that crust?"
Upon Terry and Daniel's (Ralph Macchio) reunion, his one-time former sensei formally apologized for what he put him through during the events of the 1989 film. When asked if Daniel would ever give Terry the benefit of the doubt, "We like to think that that is the case," Schlossberg said. "People can interpret it any different way. You know, Terry's a complicated character, even for us, but I think we like to think that he was actually trying to go about this a little bit more level headedly and that Daniel LaRusso because of his PTSD and also, if you've seen Karate Kid III, how can you blame Daniel for [not] trusting this guy? All he does is show up at Mr. Miyagi's house with crazy lies. It makes so much sense for Terry to be bullshitting a change of heart, so it was the perfect kind of recipe of miscommunication and misinterpretation for Daniel to tell him to just get the hell out of here and be rude to him so much so that it kind of pisses Terry off a little bit and starts to fan that flame of 'bad guy' in him. So yeah, had Daniel just left well enough alone and not been such a hothead, maybe the season wouldn't have ended the way it did." For more on how the EPs further developed Silver into a mastermind, you can check out Collider.