With Netflix releasing the fourth season of Cobra Kai on New Years' Eve 2021, there's certainly a lot to unload here, and what better way to discuss its ramifications than the stars from the series, who spoke with Entertainment Weekly as part of their digital cover story. The emerging narrative is the return of Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver, the primary villain in the maligned The Karate Kid Part III (1989), but the story of the character's creation stems from a scheduling conflict that affected the original villain & primary antagonist of the 1984 film The Karate Kid in Martin Kove, who plays John Kreese.
"They would not let me shoot 'Karate Kid III,'" Kove recalled. "So, we had to audition all these people for the role that they rewrote called Terry Silver." Terry Silver was a nuclear mogul millionaire who is the co-founder and primary financier for Cobra Kai, who ended up training Daniel in the ways of his dojo after his brief falling out with Miyagi (Pat Morita). With the shift focused on Griffith, Kove was still able to participate, but at a reduced capacity. Part III was Ralph Macchio's final entry in the TKK franchise. The follow-up paired Hilary Swank with Morita and the 2010 remake that starred Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan has no canonical ties to the original. "I've never run around putting 'Karate Kid Part III' on the top of my résumé as my proudest work," Macchio jokes. "But from that [film] comes this amazing, cherry-picked story [of Terry Silver]. We bring back characters and redefine them, add layers and allow actors a chance to expand them."
While Griffith had initial misgivings about joining the cast of Cobra Kai, the showrunners eventually won him over. Kove also shared his doubts. "You're bringing another heavy into the show, and I had mixed feelings about that, to be perfectly honest," Kove admitted. "I don't like another guy coming in stealing some of the thunder from [my] darkness. But it seems that it would shed a lot more light on my character if someone else was causing all the problems. I couldn't be barking, 'Let's get Eagle Fang! Let's defeat Miyagi-Do!' in front of my dojo anymore. I was doing that season one, season two, season three. We needed some fresh elements in the show."