Returning stars Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, and Martin Cove are joined by newcomers like Mary Mouser and Tanner Buchanan to make the Cobra Kai cast a dynamic mash-up of old and new faces.
Netflix has had huge success in breathing new life into the beloved 80s franchise, The Karate Kid. The streaming behemoth came out with the franchise’s sequel series in 2018. Five seasons in, old and new faces of the Cobra Kai cast make the dynamic show a mega-hit in the Miyagi-verse as it makes way for (hopefully) a sixth season.
The new series brought back the grown-up versions of the original movies’ favorite faces, like the karate-kid himself, Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso, and his rival Johnny Lawrence, played by William Zabka. But even the Cobra Kai cast of young rising martial-arts wannabees help make the show a lovable staple of many families’ households. Let’s take a look at all the old and new faces that help make the show as popular – if not more – than its 80s take.
When looking at the Cobra Kai cast, it is easy to categorize characters by age. Most of the adult cast are returning stars from The Karate Kid franchise movies. As for the teen faces that make up the Netflix series, all of these roles are played by relatively newcomers to showbiz.
COBRA KAI CASTS: THE RETURNING CHARACTERS
Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso
Returning as arguably the main character in the new Cobra Kai cast, Macchio is all grown up as Daniel LaRusso with a wife and two children. At the beginning of the series, the successful car-dealership owner re-opens and heads Miyagi-Do Karate, after learning that Lawrence has done the same with his rival dojo, Cobra Kai.
In the latest season, LaRusso finds himself once again battling a demon from his past, Terry Silver. He has put his rivalry with Johnny Lawrence aside while becoming as close as possible to being considered “friends” with his one-time arch-nemesis. As the heart of the new Cobra Kai cast, Maccio takes his memorable character to new places, testing the longstanding mantra of peace and balance that he once learned from Mr. Miyagi.
William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence
Long gone are the days of bullying for Johnny Lawrence, who found himself stuck under the shadow of his brutal sensei, John Creese in the original Karate Kid film. William Zabka’s return to the Cobra Kai cast finds him reopening the Cobra Kai dojo, but this time with a mission to help teach kids how to defend themselves, instead of starting fights. But still, the actor brings back Lawrence’s well-known cockiness, which he uses to continue his conflict with Daniel LaRusso.
Season five finds Johnny a changed man. Karate is now on the side burner, as the returning star of the Cobra Kai cast now focuses on repairing his unique family. He works on developing a relationship between his son, Robby Keene, and his longstanding rival, Miguel Diaz. The two will soon become bonded as Lawrence prepares for a baby with Diaz’s mother.
Martin Kove as John Kreese
Kreese has weaseled his way back into the Cobra Kai cast, however, he is largely missing in most parts of the latest season. After calling on his old friend Terry Silver for help in running Cobra Kai after taking the dojo from Johnny, Kreese is betrayed by his old military friend at the end of season four. In season five, Kreese finds himself in jail for a crime he did not commit and may possibly be forced to make new allies.
Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver
Griffith returned in season four to reprise his role as a villain for the Cobra Kai cast. In season five, the successful businessman has taken to expanding Cobra Kai and opening dojos all across the Valley. He has also made it his mission to rehash a personal vendetta against LaRusso, wreaking havoc on his life.
COBRA KAI CAST: THE NEWCOMERS
Mary Mouser as Samantha LaRusso
The young Cobra Kai cast starlet plays Sam, Daniel LaRusso’s firstborn child best known in the karate world as LaRusso 2.0. Trained by her father and Mr. Miyagi before his death, she is easily the starfighter of Miyagi-Do Karate. In season five, she struggles to figure out who she is, after training with both her father and Lawrence.
Xolo Maridueña as Miguel Diaz
Diaz comes into the Cobra Kai cast as the one and only member of Lawrence’s Cobra Kai dojo and beats Miyagi-Do male fighter Robby Keene in season one to become the All Valley champ. But after quitting his match at the end of season four, the newest season begins with Diaz traveling to Mexico to search for his birth father. But after renewing his trust with sensei Lawrence, and finding out he is soon becoming a big brother, things look up for the young karate trainee.
Tanner Buchanan as Robby Keene
Keene might be the son of Johnny Lawrence, but their estranged relationship at the start of the show leads the Cobra Kai cast newcomer to Miyagi-Do, where he becomes LaRusso’s first male fighter. But after flip-flopping, and even having a moment as one of the bad guys, Keene is now working with both his father and LaRusso. All of this while trying to convince his friends that remain in Cobra Kai to get out while they still can.
Peyton List as Tory Nichols
Joining the Cobra Kai cast at the end of the first season, Nichols quickly became the big bad of the series. As Sam LaRusso’s nemesis, she proved right off the bat just how dangerous she could be. But by season five, fans get to see a more tragic side of the teenager, giving viewers a better understanding of her troubled life as she attempts to make amends for her past mistakes.
RETURNING CAMEOS TO THE SERIES
While the Cobra Kai cast developed through the last five seasons have made the show what it is today, notable cameos have helped bring back nostalgic memory from the movie franchise. This season, the show brought back Sean Kanan’s Mike Barnes and Yuji Okumoto as Chozen Toguchi. Likewise, Robyn Lively got to briefly reprise her role as Jessica Andrews in season five.
MYSTERY FOR THE COBRA KAI CAST HEADING INTO THE FUTURE
While speculation is that the Cobra Kai cast will be back for season six, another season has yet to be officially confirmed by Netflix. What’s more, the question of whether or not the young cast will be able to continue in their roles comes into play, as the actors’ age perpetually increases as the show delays. Possibly a time jump could come into play, and fans should expect to see more new faces, and hopefully the return of even more Karate Kid favorites.