Swank starred in 1994’s ‘The Next Karate Kid.’
During the PaleyFest LA 2022, where Cobra Kai hosted a special screening and Q&A at the Dolby Theatre, the cast, including Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, opened up to ET's Will Marfuggi about season 5, dream guest stars and the one person everyone wants to appear on an upcoming season of the Karate Kid franchise spinoff series: Hilary Swank.
In 1994, Swank took over the franchise as Julie Pierce in The Next Karate Kid, which turned out to be the fourth and final film. While the movie didn’t include Macchio as Daniel LaRusso, Swank appeared opposite Pat Morita in his final appearance as Mr. Miyagi.
Given that Cobra Kai has brought back Yuji Okumoto as Chozen, Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver, Tamlyn Tomita as Kumiko, John Kreese as Martin Kove, Elisabeth Shue as Ali Mills and other original stars of the first three films, it’s only fitting that as the Netflix series continues into season 5 (and possibly beyond) that Swank gets folded back into the Miyagi universe.
“How could she not be on that list? She’s in the canon,” Zabka, who has reprised his role as Johnny Lawrence over the course of the series, says, while Tanner Buchanan, who plays his son, Robby Keene, adds, “I would love it.”
“We always say this: Anyone who is in the Miyagi-verse, meaning anyone who knew Mr. Miyagi, it makes sense in our storytelling,” Macchio says, explaining that while that means any cast members are welcome back, it’s up to the writers to make sense of it. “It’s whether the writing staff can figure out a way for these moments to be organic.”
He adds that when previous stars came back, “it was always to propel the story forward and inform these characters.”
“They’ve done so great with making every person who’s come back to the world make sense and it be in the right time and the right way,” adds Mary Mouser, who plays Samantha LaRusso. “So if that happens, I think it’s gonna be right when it’s supposed to happen.”
In the meantime, Mouser offered up her own dream guest star: Andrew Garfield, who is a self-proclaimed fan of the series. “I feel like, you know, maybe Samantha has a distant, older cousin or something who knows karate,” she says, offering a way he can be invited onto the show.
Meanwhile, Buchanan shares that his He’s All That co-star, Addison Rae, has expressed interest in appearing. “She’s mentioned that she could possible be on the show,” he says, while not confirming if she’s going to pop up in season 5, which has already finished filming. “There’s always surprises though.”
Speaking of season 5, Buchanan teases what’s in store for Robby, whose loyalties may be up for grabs. “He’s having a teenage crisis,” the actor shares. “He doesn’t know what’s wrong or what’s right anymore. He’s trying to figure out his life finally.”
As for Johnny, Zabka says, “He’s got to figure out what to do with Miguel [Xolo Maridueña] and how to make amends with him. He doesn’t know what he did. He doesn’t know what he said.”
Of course, he and Daniel are both reeling from the fact they can’t teach their dojos. “The ending of the season opens up what could be,” Macchio says of things moving forward, adding that having Okumoto has been “pretty exciting.”
The actor adds that season 5 will also deal with “what’s happening with Miguel and where he is. And then you have all our teen triangle love affairs.”
There’s also the big bad to deal with, and that’s Terry, who’s not done wreaking havoc. “He did what he had to do to keep the dream alive and he is sort of gonna take over the world,” Griffith says.
No matter what, “season 5 definitely does what Cobra Kai does best, which is take you on twists and turns. And just when you think you’re going in one direction, you’re in another,” Mouser says, adding that the team has taken the martial arts “to the next level.”
Echoing that sentiment is Gianni DeCenzo, who plays Demetri Alexopoulos. “It’s going to be worth the wait,” he says of the fight sequences. “It’s going to be awesome.”