The showrunners behind ‘Cobra Kai’ look ahead to season 2 where Sensei John Kreese will return to his old stomping ground while Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso continue their ongoing battle…
‘Cobra Kai’ was one of the surprise breakout hits of 2018 after debuting on YouTube Red — the premium YouTube subscription service — with the comedy/drama serving as a sequel to the original ‘Karate Kid’ movies.
The first season shifted the focus slightly to Johnny Lawrence as the main character as the former karate champion was now a destitute handi-man, barely able to pay his bills while estranged from his ex-wife and son. Johnny gets his act together throughout the first season as he re-opens a Cobra Kai dojo while building an impressive roster of students who look to train under him.
None of this sits too well with Daniel LaRusso, who is now the owner of several successful car dealerships in the same area, and Cobra Kai’s return reignites a rivalry that dates back more than 30 years.
At the end of the first season, Johnny leads his Cobra Kai team to victory at the All-Valley Karate Tournament — the same one Daniel famously won two years in a row in the ‘Karate Kid’ films. Meanwhile, Daniel took on Johnny’s son as a student, which only exacerbated his strained relationship with his former rival.
Following his team’s victory at the All-Valley Tournament, Johnny returns to his dojo where he is greeted by a ghost from the past as his former sensei John Kreese is waiting for him. That will obviously stir up all sorts of trouble as Johnny once looked at him as a father figure but then fell prey to Kreese’s volatile attitude after he choked his former student when he lost to Daniel in the finals of the tournament.
Now that he’s back, Sensei Kreese will have a massive impact on Johnny and season 2 as a whole according to creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.
“Sensei Kreese has an enormous role in season 2,” Hurwitz teased when speaking to EW this week. “We’ve taken the original sensei and run him into the mix in Johnny’s world, and this is somebody who has a loaded relationship with Johnny. He’s a father figure and a mentor and he’s also been a guy who has disappointed him greatly and literally tried to choke him to death — the last time that we saw them on screen together. They have a very complicated relationship. You’ll get to see more sides of Kreese this year and I think what I would say is that Martin Kove’s performance is fantastic this year.
“I think it’s one of the revelations of season two that I think people are going to be talking about — kind of in the way where when you watched season one were sort of surprised and enjoyed seeing Billy Zabka return as Johnny Lawrence in kind of a different way than you had seen before, and the performance was so great — the same can be said about Martin Kove in season 2. He’s excellent and kind of commands the screen whenever he’s there, and it’s fun watching his dynamic with the other characters in the series.”
Martin Kove reprising his role as the infamous karate teacher will impact every facet of the modern day rivalry between Johnny and Daniel, which only grew more volatile as the season moved forward last year.
Now Johnny’s original teacher is back — and Sensei Kreese shows no mercy.
“I think the big difference between season 1 and season 2 is his presence and everything that he brought to the original Karate Kid, he is bringing to this show — so if you’re a fan of the original it’s like, Darth Vader is back! But because this is a series, like last season, you have more time to go through the layers to understand the character in ways that you maybe will look back on the original movie and think a little differently. It’s going to be fun for fans,” Schlossberg added.
According to the executive producers, ‘Cobra Kai’ season 2 will see Daniel decide to open his own karate studio to carry on the legacy of his teacher Mr. Miyagi as he continues to work with Johnny’s son as well as his own daughter, who opts to carry on her family’s legacy as well.
One other person who might just make a surprise appearance in ‘Cobra Kai’ season 2 is Elisabeth Shu, who portrayed Daniel and Johnny’s love interest Ali in the first ‘Karate Kid’ movie.
Both Johnny and Daniel made reference to her character during the first season and the executive producers definitely seem to tease that there’s a possibility Shue drops by her old neighborhood during season 2.
“Ali is one of those characters from the movies and in this universe that is very, very important and very integral to the relationship and the rivalry and the dynamic and the history between these characters, and I can say no more than that,” Heald stated.
‘Cobra Kai’ season 2 returns later this year on YouTube, although no debut date has been announced just yet.