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Cobra Kai S05: Ralph Macchio & William Zabka on Chozen, Barnes Returns

The stakes are even higher in season five of Cobra Kai as Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) calls in his own reinforcements, turning to his one-time former rival Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) after Terry Silver's (Thomas Ian Griffith) dojo emerges victorious and Miyagi-do and Eagle Fang are forced to shut down. Daniel faces an even more uncertain future with another rival-turned-ally in Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) turns AWOL, not knowing he's off trying to find his student Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) in Mexico. What we do know is that not only is Okumoto returning to help, but we also have another major return in Mike Barnes, played by Sean Kanan, who once tormented Daniel during the events of The Karate Kid Part III (1989). Macchio and Zabka spoke to Bleeding Cool about Chozen and Barnes' returns, with Macchio working with the two again and Zabka's Johnny sharing scenes with them for the first time.

Cobra Kai S05: Ralph Macchio & William Zabka on Chozen, Barnes Returns
Cobra Kai. (L to R) William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence, Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso, Yuji Okumoto as Chozen Toguchi in Cobra Kai. Cr. Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix © 2022

"It was great. Yuji's turn in season three, sort of the 180-flip of Chozen and then becoming an ally for Daniel LaRusso as he calls in reinforcements at the end of season four, was a joy to play and reconnect with him," Macchio said. "I think we felt season three within three lines of dialog in the first scene we shot. We were already starting to talk about how Chozen is coming back in a big way. It's exciting to have that and to have Yuji on set and Sean, I hadn't seen in a long time. Everyone brings their A-game. It's really inspiring to see everyone come to the table, then raise the bar, and help the evolution of storytelling. So it's been better than I could have imagined." Okumoto, who originally co-starred with Macchio in The Karate Kid Part II (1986), made his return in season three of Cobra Kai before appearing in the season four finale.

cobra kai
Cobra Kai. Sean Kanan as Mike Barnes in Cobra Kai. Cr. Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix © 2022

"I knew Sean before he even got 'Karate Kid [Part III].' In fact, I remember I met him on a different show. He was doing a guest spot on something," Zabka said. "Anyway, I knew Sean for a while, but I never met Thomas, knew Yuji well. I was fans of theirs in the film… 'The Karate Kid' franchise as their characters. So to get to rub arms with them onscreen is just been really fun. What a joy and all that. The great dynamics that the creators have come up with for how these characters rub in today's world. So it's been a lot of fun. They're total professionals. They come prepared, ready to go in, and they're killing it. I especially love my stuff with Yuji because that's the stuff where I get to have a conversation and not just be in 'fight-or-flight' mode. So we had some fun things where Johnny and Chozen get to go arm-in-arm. That was exciting. They're just great, they show up, and they're thankful to be there, and then they're just bringing it to another level. It's a win-win love fest, really."

Season five of Cobra Kai premieres September 9th on Netflix.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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