William Zabka on Johnny Lawrence Changing in Cobra Kai Season 5

Cobra Kai S5 William Zabka as Johnny Ralph Macchio as Daniel Yuji Okumoto as Chozen Cr Curtis Bonds Baker Netflix
William Zabka as Johnny, Ralph Macchio as Daniel, Yuji Okumoto as Chozen. Credit: Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix

Karate Kid was released in the ’80s and stars Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso. In the classic film, the new kid on the block had to deal with Cobra Kai, a rival martial arts dojo. Thanks to the Cobra Kai series, fans get to see what happens to Daniel after the original movie trilogy. Many years later, he’s still fighting against Cobra Kai, but at the end of season 4, Terry Silver from Karate Kid III has taken over. Things are about to get worse for Daniel, and this time he’ll need help from Johnny Lawrence, his rival from Karate Kid.

Cobra Kai has really shown how Johnny has changed since season one, and it’s been a gradual transition. Season 5 will take things a step further for the former Cobra Kai teacher.

“Yeah, he’s changing,” Zabka tells Nerd Reactor of his character arc. “I mean, he’s got a new heart growing in him and what happens with Carmen, and I’m not going to get into any spoilers in that. But yeah, he’s also trying to prepare himself to be a father to both of these boys and whatever’s gonna come into his life. It’s a great evolution. But you know, there’s always the other side of him lurking underneath that pops out here and there in the season. But it’s a great evolution of the character. He’s got a long way to go still.”

Peyton List as Tory. Credit: Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix.

The students of Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai will once again be enemies in Season 5. Jacob Bertrand is back as Eli Moskowitz, sans the mohawk, and has a rivalry with Peyton List’s Tory Nichols. The two have a close relationship on and off the screen, and they talked about their moment together in season 5.

“There’s one scene at the waterpark,” Bertrand tells us. “It was mainly at the waterpark – but there’s one scene at the waterpark where [Tory] has to step up and be like, ‘Back off,’ and I step up to her and like, ‘You don’t want to do this.’ I forget what the line is, and it was really weird, like trying to keep a straight face and being like, ‘I want to fight you.'” [He laughs.]

“Yeah, I definitely think there’s a part of my brain that I have to turn off in order to not laugh when fighting each other,” Peyton List tells Nerd Reactor about her scene with Bertrand. “But it’s so much fun. And also I’ve always wanted to fight Hawks in the beginning because I think that we have some of the biggest tempers on the show. I just think it’s fun.”

“Yeah, it was fun getting to do these super heightened serious staredowns as we’re about to race on a waterslide,” Bertrand added.

Griffin Santopietro plays Anthony, the son of Daniel LaRusso, and in season 4, the actor got more screen time as he deals with a new rival, Dallas Dupree Young as Kenny Payne. With season 5, audiences will get to see more of the rivalry between the two.

“After season four, when I got that beat down from Dallas, I kind of got the message that I got to start figuring this stuff out,” Santopietro said. “So since then, I’ve been boxing outside of filming, and it’s been really helpful, especially this last season. But yeah, I definitely got the message that I’m gonna have to start figuring this stuff out because I was still pretty new to it. But I think getting to work with [Dallas and Oona O’Brien], and everybody’s just so good that I kind of had a mentor in everybody and I could just kind of wing it and still make it work. So it’s great.”

About Cobra Kai Season 5

Logline: Following the shocking results of the All Valley Tournament, Season 5 finds Terry Silver expanding the Cobra Kai empire and trying to make his “No Mercy” style of karate the only game in town. With Kreese behind bars and Johnny Lawrence setting karate aside to focus on repairing the damage he’s caused, Daniel LaRusso must call on an old friend for help.

Cobra Kai is written and executive produced by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg via their production company, Counterbalance Entertainment. Will Smith, James Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett executive produce for Westbrook Entertainment along with Susan Ekins in association with Sony Pictures Television. Ralph Macchio and William Zabka also serve as executive producers.

The series stars Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso), William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence), Courtney Henggeler (Amanda LaRusso), Xolo Maridueña (Miguel Diaz), Tanner Buchanan (Robby Keene), Mary Mouser (Samantha LaRusso), Jacob Bertrand (Hawk), Gianni Decenzo (Demetri), Vanessa Rubio (Carmen), Peyton List (Tory) and Martin Kove (John Kreese) with Dallas Dupree Young (Kenny), Oona O’Brien (Devon), Griffin Santopietro (Anthony), Yuji Okumoto (Chozen) and Thomas Ian Griffith (Terry Silver).

The first four seasons of Sony Pictures Television’s Cobra Kai are now streaming on Netflix with Season 5 premiering on September 9, 2022.

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