Cobra Kai Creators Talk Season 5

Cobra Kai creators Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg and Josh Heald brought The Karate Kid back. Now in season 5, they’ve been able to expand even the world of the sequels, not just the original. They brought Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) back for season 4, and now season 5 sees him fulfilling the promise hem mentioned in Karate Kid III with a Cobra Kai dojo on every corner.

Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) coaches Tory (Peyton List). Cr. Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix © 2022

“That was one of the pleasures of making Cobra Kai Season 5,” Schlossberg said. “It was almost like The Karate Kid Part IV of what it should’ve been if Mike Barnes won the tournament and Cobra Kai was able to expand. So I loved that aspect of making the season just being able to have glimpses and tastes of what it’s like to live in Terry’s dream. So yeah, when you get to watch season 5, you see a little bit of what that alternate universe would’ve been like had Karate Kid III ended differently.”

Silver is empowered by Cobra Kai winning the All-Valley Karate Tournament in season 4. Johnny (William Zabka) is honoring the bet to stop teaching Karate, but Daniel (Ralph Macchio) is still trying to show the world who Silver really is. 

“Terry is rewarded for all of his bad behavior at the end of season 4 which is a dsimilar place as we found him in Karate Kid Part III,” Heald said. “In that movie, he had that kind of manic energy from the jump. He’s willing to get involved to clean John Kreese’s bad name and get revenge for all the ills that were delivered upon his old friend. In season 4, we took pains to bring Silver back to that point, to get him back to that places where he once again has this bloodlust with nothing but Cobra Kai domination on his hand. So season 5 makes him a more dangerous character because he’s achieved what he wanted at the end of Karate Kid Part III and he has the valley in his hands. The valley doesn’t see him for any kind of monster. They see him as a wonderful rich guy who’s doing great things for karate and for youth. So it makes him more dangerous. It makes him more formidable. It means that the game plan has to change.”

(L to R) Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) welcomes Sensei Kim Da-Eun (Alicia Hannah-Kim) Cr. Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix © 2022

Silver doesn’t see himself as the villain though.

“He’s of the belief that what he’s doing is great for young people,” Hurwitz said. “The lessons that he was taught have made him the success that he is in life. And have helped transform him from a twig to a formidable beast of sorts. So there’s a quote, a line that Kreese has in an earlier season. There is no good, there is no bad, only weak and strong. I think that one thing that we love about the characters on our show is they all pretty much believe that they’re doing good. Whether we perceive it as good or not is the audience’s choice.”

Silver may be stronger than ever because he’s learned his lessons from previous defeats. 

“He is somebody that remembers the events of Karate Kid III,” Schlossberg said. “So that also makes him more dangerous. He understands you could get caught up in the personal vendettas and that could lead you to dumb things like telling Barnes to take a point, give a point at the end of Karate Kid III and it kind of blew everything. So this is a guy who’s got all the power, he’s living the dream and he also remembers how things faltered in the past. So he’s smart and more dangerous than ever.”

Daniel is still out of sorts trying to show everyone Silver’s true colors. He may be a grown-up now, but Silver has new tricks to play on him too.

(L to R) Thomas Ian Griffith fights Ralph Macchio Cr. Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix © 2022

“Daniel’s a more savvy person now,” Heald said. “He’s lived through the events of The Karate Kid Part III. He’s grown and he’s also lived through the events of the Cobra Kai series through four seasons. So I think Daniel knows that his enemy is not to be taken lightly. And I think that puts Daniel at more of an advantage but it also gives Silver a distinct advantage because he knows that Daniel lives with that past and knows pieces of his playbook and can make assumptions about how he’ll behave. So you have two enemies who know the other’s playbook up until now and are embarking upon this next phase with that knowledge but also the knowledge that neither is to be taken with a grain of salt. I think that gives new colors to where they go and how the story evolves from there.”

Netflix released the image of Sean Kanan last month to show fans that Mike Barnes would be back. Now you get to see where Mike Barnes is 30 years later.

Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) returns! Cr. Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix © 2022

“There’s always this balance of publicity vs. keeping things secret,” Schlossberg said. “You want to be able to excite fans and also keep fans in the dark enough to have real surprises while you watch the show. We’ve gone both ways in the course of five seasons when it came to character from the original Karate Kid. Sometimes we save it for a moment in the show. Sometimes we show it. Sometimes we show it but only a portion of it. I think we want to get fans excited, people who’ve been on this journey, remember Karate Kid Part III, they know that Karate’s Bad Boy is coming back. At the same time, there’s a lot of questions marks there and things to wonder and question until the release and then you’ll see where it all goes.”

Martin Kove Talks Cobra Kai Season 5

Police escort John Kreese (Martin Kove) out of Terry Silver’s home. Cr. Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix

Cobra Kai Season 4 left John Kreese (Martin Kove) without the upper hand for once. Terry Silver had him arrested for beating up Stingray (Paul Walter Hauser), which Silver arranged for Stingray to point the finger at Kreese. Season 5 finds Kreese in prison, and Kove said that thrusts his character into the unknown.

“He really has to pay attention to some of the methods and some of the sessions that he had with the psychologist,” Kove said. “He really needs to be on his game and that’s what’s exciting about upcoming episodes that I really don’t know what to expect but he’s out there. It’s not the comfort zone of the dojo and having it be his way and his dojo and his rules, his regulations, it’s all out there. It’s all out there and he’s got to do a great deal of improvising to get what he needs and unfortunately what he needs right now is revenge.”

Kove has dealt with tough guys before, on the battlefield of Vietnam and in the streets. But, convicts are another story. 

There’s a lot of condescending there between myself and looking at these other characters,” Kove said. “He reaches that point at a certain time. John Kreese’s mind is always going a mile a minute, conceiving and manipulating of what he has to do for the next part of his life which could be in an hour or ten minutes. Whether it’s the dojo with Billy or whether it’s taking over the dojo or even the backstory of him being alone all his life or just defending himself in Vietnam. So he’s always ahead of the game. He’s always ahead of the game thinking and manipulating. I just believe that John Kreese is not a villain. John Kreese is misunderstood and what you see in season 5 is a lot of that, especially some of those scenes with the psychologist. It’s great stuff. I enjoy playing that more than I enjoy playing the tough guy.”

John Kreese (Martin Kove) has a brief taste of victory. Cr. Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix

Kreese may not be a villain to Kove, but he sure gets his comeuppance throughout the seasons of Cobra Kai. Kove can’t help but sympathize with Kreese.

“I guess once you pass the anger of being defied and conspiratorially cast aside like he feels, he is Cobra Kai,” Kove said. “Here’s a man whose life he saved and now he’s just betraying him. So I guess the anxiety is not as much fun as the pain. The pain is more identifiable. The pain is the vulnerability, the moments with Tory, the moments with telling her, ‘You’ve fought so hard in the tournament and prepared for that. You just do what you think is appropriate.’ That moment is really important to me as an actor and as a character.”

It was Kreese’s idea to bring Silver back into the fold. Kove said Kreese now regrets it. 

“Getting even with Terry Silver, I think he’s a loser anyway,” Kove said. “I’m always surprised that he was able to get this far because even as a kid, he supplied a check to basically to keep the dojo open but he had lost a lot of his integrity to the business world and he was not a Terry Silver as years progressed that I knew in Vietnam. And that we planned Cobra Kai together. He kind of abandoned me and he got worse and worse and worse with the distance. And then when he lived the life in Malibu, tofu and appetizers of shrimp scampi, I realized where he was at and he had completely changed and migrated it to the world of the simplistic and what’s easy in life. I was never in that position. I was always entertaining what was difficult because that was the background I came from, emotionally and physically.”

Cobra Kai isn’t the only show Kove is on. He also has a podcast with his kids, Jesse and Rachel, Kicking It with the Koves. This week will be Cobra Kai week on the podcast. 

“My daughter, Rachel, she kind of initiated it and said, ‘Daddy, let’s do this,’” Kove said. “She’s a life coach and she’s just brilliant. My son being an actor, I was just the outlaw, the icing on the cake. We talk a lot about Cobra Kai but we interview psychologists, we interview just wonderful, wonderful athletes and people who are writers.” 

Kove is still a busy actor but he plans to keep doing Kicking It with the Koves around his schedule. 

“Going into the studio with the kids is great because I love it,” Kove said. “You get a great deal of satisfaction watching your children emote and ask questions and be so intellectual. So when we do it on Zoom, if I’m here in Nashville and they’re in L.A. it’s not as enjoyable, but when I can get to L.A. or they can come here, we’ve done it in the studio here in Nashville as well as one in L.A. When the three of us in the same location it’s fantastic. The parent, it’s like your kids getting Academy Awards. It’s heaven.”