Cobra Kai shouldn't work. The idea of a Karate Kid sequel series released three decades after the original movie feels like a silly concept. But after three action-packed seasons and a move to Netflix, the martial arts program shows no signs of surrender. No mercy, indeed.
When Cobra Kai premiered on Youtube Red in May of 2018, the reception by critics and audiences alike made it a must-watch sleeper hit. The problem, of course, was that while it received a cavalcade of rave reviews, the subscriber base just wasn't there. That all changed when Sony Television made a deal with Netflix to acquire the show and premiere its highly-anticipated third season, and Cobra Kai Season 4 is already in the works.
Netflix announced Cobra Kai’s Season 4 renewal months before the Season 3 premiere, solidifying that, even though it's been 34 years since underdog Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) first teamed-up with wise sensei Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), this TV sequel is the best around. The stakes that were initially raised in Season 2's riveting cliffhanger got leveled up again in the newest round of episodes leaving us with a whole load of questions about where things will go when the show returns. So, in that speculative spirit, here's everything we know about Cobra Kai Season 4.
What was the plot of Cobra Kai Season 3?
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Cobra Kai Season 3.
Throughout the first three seasons of Cobra Kai, we've watched as the good guy/bad guy dynamic of Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Danny Larusso got flipped on its head. Adding humanity to the characters and introducing Johnny as a good-hearted underdog with a dark past set the stage for the morality plays the series has continued to throw at us for three fantastic seasons.
Of course, the main gist of Season 3 found every character reeling from the karate brawl that transpired in the halls and staircases of East Valley High at the end of Season 2. It's here that Samantha Larusso (Mary Mouser) faced off with Tory (Peyton List) in a brawl that leaves her with physical and mental scars. Hawk's (Jacob Bertrand) drama with his former best friend Demetri (Gianni Decenzo) also comes to a head in this epic fight sequence, leaving the two nerds drifting further apart. But it's ultimately the fate of Miguel (Xolo Mariduena), who was kicked over the railing by Robby Lawrence (Tanner Buchanan) — leaving Miguel comatose and paralyzed, and Robby incarcerated — that drives the whole season forward.
Johnny and Daniel struggle to reconcile their roles in all of this and it's clear the responsibility for the violence rests heavily on their shoulders. John Kreese (Martin Kove), on the other hand, is just out here living his best life. He's the maestro of this ongoing karate war, resulting in teens spilling blood and breaking bones. And while Kreese has been the end-all-be-all when it comes to '80s movie villains, Cobra Kai went ahead and humanized him. Flashbacks gave us a peek into his time serving in Vietnam and revealed that once, a long time ago, Kreese was a good-hearted underdog who was dealt an unfortunate hand. The trauma of war, along with the death of his girlfriend, cemented these scenes as the origin story for the big bad who views everything in life as a war that needs to be won.
When all is said and done, it's Kreese's manipulative hunger for power that sparks another brawl to take place — this time inside the LaRusso estate, of all places. And all of the chaos leads Johnny and Daniel to squash their beef and merge dojos with the end-goal of taking John Kreese down once and for all. To do it, Johnny's newly-named dojo Eagle Fang, along with Miyagi-Do, will have to battle it out with Cobra Kai at the iconic All Valley Karate Tournament in Cobra Kai Season 4. How else do you solve disputes in the Karate Kid universe?
WHEN IS THE RELEASE DATE OF COBRA KAI SEASON 4?
We know there will be a Cobra Kai Season 4, but given the sensitive nature of film shoots during the Covid-19 pandemic, the timeline isn't solid. While we may not know when the next season will premiere, there are some encouraging signs that things are moving in the right direction. In October of 2020, series co-creator Jon Hurwitz used Twitter to tells fans that the writers' room for Season 4 had closed.
At the end of November, Hurwitz tweeted about production plans for the new season, saying "Planning for early 2021. Most productions have been overwhelmingly safe. But we’ll see how things are looking after the New Year. Hopefully, we can get the numbers under control." Ralph Macchio also confirmed to Inverse that filming hadn’t started yet as of December 2020.
If the production schedule moves forward as planned, we can only speculate that Cobra Kai Season 4 will hit Netflix in early 2022. Hurwitz backed up that idea on Twitter when replying to a fan about the show's future, saying he "would imagine Season 4 will come out roughly a year after Season 3."
Is there a trailer for Cobra Kai Season 4?
Not yet. Expect one roughly a month before Season 4 premieres. So maybe November 2021?
HOW MANY SEASONS WILL COBRA KAI HAVE?
Each season of Cobra Kai has felt better than the previous one, leaving us really curious what the overall plan is for the series, as a whole. Co-showrunner Josh Heald told TV Line:
"We have an endgame in our heads. We’ve had one for quite some time, and it’s not in Season 4. It’s well beyond that. In our minds, we have seasons’ worth of story that is necessary to tell before we get to that endgame. That will be a discussion going forward with our new partners at Netflix. Can we write to that endgame? Can we know that it’s coming? That’s not always the case with television and we respect that. For now, we’re continuing to write at the same speed and with the same path that we set out with from the beginning."
Who is in the COBRA KAI SEASON 4 cast?
In Season 3, Daniel took a trip to Okinawa, Japan to reconnect spiritually with his past and attempt to find some Miyagi-like guidance as he faced a crisis both at home and at work. Along the way, he reunited with some key characters from Karate Kid Part II: former love interest Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita), and the dude who tried to murder him, Chozen (Yuji Okumoto).
The appearance of these two not only helped to bring Daniel closure, they bring that wonderful nostalgic element to Cobra Kai and add lovely layers to the show's expanding world. And, of course, there's Elizabeth Shue's return as Ali, the girl who Johnny and Daniel fought over in the original movie. Establishing the show's complex history, while providing easter eggs for the movies' die-hard fans, is what it's all about here.
This leaves us wondering if there will be more cameos to look forward to in Season 4. Could Hilary Swank reprise her role as Julie Pierce, fine-tuning the connectivity of the original three films to hers? According to CinemaBlend, it's possible. But what's on our minds is the final phone call John Kreese made in the Season 3 finale. Who the heck was he talking to?
After establishing his Vietnam War backstory, we were left with Kreese calling up an old army buddy for a big assist to help him beat Johnny and Daniel one final time. Something tells us, the person on the other end of that call was none other than Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) — one of the members of his platoon, which he ended up saving.
"I owe you, man. You saved my ass. Anything you need, I'm there for you, your whole life." These are the words he speaks to Kreese as the army men are rescued from certain death. And this sequence really adds color to their history. Remember, Silver was not just the psychotic villain of Karate Kid Part III, he was also the one who ended up funding Kreese's dojo dreams, to begin with.
So, was Silver on the other end of that call? Hurwitz played coy with his answer, telling TV Line, "On our show, we try to bring back the original actor who played characters in the past as much as possible. We all loved the character of Terry Silver in The Karate Kid 3, and his portrayal by Thomas Ian Griffith, so if that character was to return for Season 4, we’d hope that he’d be the one playing him."
Beyond that, you can expect all your favorite characters to return as Larusso and Lawrence team up to take down Kreese once and for all.
COBRA KAI SEASONS 1-3 ARE CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX.