Two stars from 'The Karate Kid III' make their way through the Netflix series, which has returned for its fifth season.
On season 5 of Cobra Kai, the franchise reunited The Karate Kid III cast, with both Sean Kanan and Robyn Lively reprising their roles as Mike Barnes and Jessica Andrews on the Netflix series. While Kanan’s return was announced ahead of season 5’s debut on Sept. 9, Lively’s appearance on the show was a surprise for longtime fans of the films.
This season, they joined other returning stars, Yuji Okumoto, Thomas Ian Griffith and Martin Kove, as Chozen Toguchi, Terry Silver and John Kreese, respectively, as well as Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, who continue to lead the Cobra Kai series as on-and-off again rivals Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence.
“Sean is fantastic in the show by the way,” Okumoto says. While speaking to ET, he, Macchio and their other co-stars gush about the latest crop of Karate Kid performers to appear on the series. [Warning: Spoilers for Cobra Kai season 5.]
Mike first shows up in episode three, as Daniel is forced to call upon old friends – err, enemies – in order to strengthen his numbers in the ongoing battle with Terry for control of the Valley. Still traumatized about the way Mike treated him over 30 years ago, Daniel is quick to assume that Mike is still a goon – but it turns out he’s now just a furniture store owner and very apologetic for the things he did back then.
Like the other returning OGs, it’s not long before Kanan’s character gets sucked into the drama at hand with the 55-year-old actor showing off his impressive fighting skills. Shortly after Daniel reunites with Mike, Chozen starts throwing punches and he and Mike throw down in the furniture store.
“It was great! I mean, he came in like every older OG guy came in, and they just do a great job,” Macchio says.
And after his furniture store is burned down, Mike makes a surprise return in the finale, first to attack Daniel outside of a runaway limo before being convinced to join him and Johnny’s fight against Terry and take down the Cobra Kai dojo.
In fact, that limo throwdown with Daniel, Mike, Chosen and Johnny happens to be one of Macchio’s favorite scenes of season 5. “Outside the limo and me knowing the insanity and the guys want to just get on the horses and a beer is thrown at my head,” he recalls, noting “it’s very Cobra Kai, leading up to such a big climax” that closes out the episode and season.
What’s also fun about that moment is that it’s the first time Johnny and Mike officially meet since Zabka wasn’t actually in Karate Kid III. “Johnny doesn’t know who this Mike Barnes is,” the actor says, sharing how fun it was to then have Johnny, Chosen and Mike team up, especially given their collective past with Daniel.
“They have no history, they have no bond. It’s hysterical that these three guys tormented LaRusso for all this time and now, are all together,” Zabka continues, with Macchio quipping, “The three nemeses.”
Meanwhile, Griffith says it was an “honor” being on set with all the other OGs. “Our paths haven’t crossed in years,” he says. “So, to come on and just be able to catch up as human beings and see where they’re at as artists and then be able to try to create something that’s gonna be nostalgic and fun but also rise to the level we want, it was special.”
The actor then credits the creators, Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, for “tapping into the colors and the dimensions of all these characters. They all can pop up and you can root for all of them.”