As we inch closer to Cobra Kai season four, one-time rivals-turned-frienemies in Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) must find a way to combine their dojos in Miyagi-do and Eagle Fang to topple John Kreese's (Martin Kove) Cobra Kai at the All-Valley Karate Tournament. Obviously, Kreese won't be by himself as he'll be recruiting a familiar face from The Karate Kid past in Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), a fellow Vietnam War vet who is co-founder of his dojo. Speaking with TV Line, executive producers and showrunners Jon Hurwitz and Josh Heald teased about what's to come.
"Johnny and Daniel have very different ideologies, and it has caused conflict throughout their lives," says Hurwitz. "They do have a common enemy now and want the same things. Plus, they'd have had some breakthroughs because of the wise words of Ali Mills. But now it's the two of them trying to teach a bunch of students together, so you can expect there to be some challenges, and the question that we'll answer this season is how they respond to those challenges."
On top of trying to sync up the franchise's odd couple and their respective dojos, tensions will mount for the leading female students Miyagi-do's Sam LaRusso (Mary Mouser) and Cobra Kai's Tory Nichols (Peyton List) with Heald saying things have "never been hotter" as Tory still carries "a lot of bad blood" against Sam. "As the story unfolds in Season 4, that rivalry heats up, and as with any relationship, you have ebbs and flows in terms of who's pissed off, who's angry, who's willing to bury the hatchet, and who needs to hash it out," he continues. "We are living with that rivalry as much as we ever have before."
One of Cobra Kai's biggest strengths is that every character has a clear motivation that's simply not born out of malice since experiences differ like the toxic figures Tory had to deal with at home that at one point affected her participation at the dojo. ""One of our favorite parts of writing this show is that we switch points of view quite often, and we try to never present anyone as the villain or the bad guy," Heald explains. "Everyone's kind of a protagonist and everyone is kind of each other's antagonist. Our goal is always to take you into these moments of intense confrontation where you really feel the motivations of both sides and at least [get] a mindset toward understanding what brings it to that moment beyond just a bloodlust or rivalry." Cobra Kai season four premieres on December 31 on Netflix.