5 ‘Karate Kid’ Characters We Still Haven’t Seen on ‘Cobra Kai’
Martial arts dramedy Cobra Kai has continued the story of the Karate Kid films, reigniting the rivalry between former opponents Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), now middle-aged, as they mentor a new generation of karate kids. And as the series progressed — and switched streamers from YouTube Premium to Netflix — producers added in more characters from the films. John Kreese (Martin Kove) returned in Season 1, and Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) and Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto) came back in Season 3. The upcoming fourth season, hitting Netflix on December 31, will see the return of Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith).
“In our writers’ room, we speak about literally every character that has appeared in the Miyagi-verse,” Cobra Kai co-creator Jon Hurwitz told CinemaBlend last year. Two characters excluded from that Miyagi-verse? Dre Parker and Mr. Han, the characters Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan played in the 2010 Karate Kid remake (which, confusingly, featured kung fu and not karate). “Jackie Chan is mentioned in Season 1 of the show as a human, so I think in our world, Jackie Chan is an actor and a performer,” Hurwitz explained to /Film earlier this year. “If the characters on our show have seen a movie called The Karate Kid, they’ve seen that one.”
And with that disclaimer out of the way, here are some of the other characters who could still make an appearance in Season 4 or later (Cobra Kai has already been renewed for a fifth season).
Dutch (Chad McQueen)
One of Johnny’s pals from the original Cobra Kai, Dutch was one of Daniel’s adversaries in the original Karate Kid film. He has gotten a couple of shoutouts on Cobra Kai so far, like when his old friends recall the time he went to juvenile detention after breaking a dartboard at a bar, or the time he got arrested for hot-wiring a go-kart. Last viewers have heard, Dutch is serving time in federal prison. Hurwitz told /Film that the producers had approached actor Chad McQueen to bring Dutch to Cobra Kai in Season 2, but the actor “was unable to do it.”
Jessica Andrews (Robyn Lively)
In The Karate Kid Part III, Daniel catches feelings for Jessica Andrews, a pottery shop worker from whom Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) buys bonsai pots. Trouble is, she’s headed back to Ohio to reconcile with an ex. But Daniel still holds a torch for her, even breaking the nose of a guy who bothers her at a nightclub. Jessica hasn’t returned for Cobra Kai yet, but actress Robyn Lively, the half-sister of Blake, said on a 2017 episode of the podcast Below the Belt Show that it “would be so much fun” to join the series, per Heavy.
Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan)
Fans have seen villain Mike Barnes in flashbacks on Cobra Kai, but the vicious karate fighter hasn’t yet made an appearance on the show. In The Karate Kid Part III, Terry recruits Mike to take Daniel down in exchange for part-ownership of the new Cobra Kai dojos. Daniel narrowly defeated him, but Mike still ranks as one of Daniel’s toughest opponents. Earlier this year, actor Sean Kanan — who went on to have a lengthy soap-opera career — told the Palm Springs Desert Sun that there’s a “definite possibility” he’ll be on Cobra Kai for Season 4.
Julie Pierce (Hilary Swank)
Hilary Swank’s first starring role in a feature film had her succeeding Macchio as “karate kid,” playing Julie Pierce, Mr. Miyagi’s mentee, in 1994’s The Next Karate Kid. The actress, a two-time Oscar winner, suggested to Uproxx in 2019 that she’d be game for a showdown with Macchio on Cobra Kai. Hurwitz told CinemaBlend that fans will “just have to wait to find out” to see if Julie appears on the show.
Eric McGowan (Chris Conrad)
If Julie comes back into the picture, perhaps Eric McGowan would, too. In The Next Karate Kid, Eric starts out as an antagonist, one of the members of the ruthless Alpha Elite high school team. But Julie starts taking a liking to him and ultimately saves him from the rest of the Alpha Elite gang.
Cobra Kai, Season 4 Premiere, Friday, December 31, Netflix