Cobra Kai S05: Thomas Ian Griffith on Sean Kanan/Mike Barnes Return
To say fans had mixed feelings about 1989's The Karate Kid Part III would be an understatement, as most regard it as the weakest chapter in the franchise. Two of its breakout stars were Thomas Ian Griffith and Sean Kanan, who played villains, Terry Silver and Mike Barnes, respectively, who would carve out very successful careers in Hollywood ever since. Season five of Cobra Kai would see the two reunite under unexpected circumstances with Terry's martial arts expansion throughout the Valley following his dojo's victory at the karate tournament. Griffith spoke to Bleeding Cool about Kanan's return. The following contains major spoilers for season five.
"The creators twisted up [Barnes'] back story for the unexpected, and I think Sean did an incredible job, and the writing was so smart," Griffith said. When Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) try to investigate how Terry is planning to take over the Valley with his Cobra Kai dojo expansion, they seek out his former student, who they find is still in town…operating a furniture store, confusing the language he uses along the way for comedic effect. During the events of TKKP3, Daniel is initially recruited into Cobra Kai by Terry, not knowing the trap he, John Kreese (Martin Kove), and his student Barnes laid out for him. After having second thoughts, Daniel tries to escape, and Kreese and Barnes emerge to attack him before Daniel's sensei, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), saves him from their beatdown. Daniel would defend his title successfully against Barnes in the tournament final.
"I love that it means so much to the fans to bring back the OG crowd, and I'm so glad it worked out the season to have him back," Griffith said. "I don't know if they're in the same place character-wise that Barnes would fit into Terry's world, which I'm glad they didn't force it to try to make happen. It was the smart call, and I think he got to shine. Season five is literally the world is rising up against Terry because he's taken over that part of it." Barnes would return to help Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Chozen storm Terry's mansion in the season finale. Season five of Cobra Kai is available to stream on Netflix.