In May 2018, the first episode of Cobra Kai was released on YouTube Red, where it stayed before moving on to Netflix for Season 3. The series is set in The Karate Kid universe and follows the continued story of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). It focuses specifically on Johnny’s perspective as he decides to reopen the Cobra Kai Dojo three decades after his defeat at the All-Valley Karate Tournament.
Fans are reintroduced to the former Karate Kid antagonist Johnny Lawrence. He works as a part-time handyman, now a stranger to the wealthy lifestyle he knew as a kid. The trauma from being assaulted by his old sensei John Kreese had him falling into a deep depression. This and his alcoholism made him decide to abandon his son, Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan).
After defending Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) from a group of bullies using karate, he decides to train him (at Miguel’s relentless insistence) and reopens the Cobra Kai dojo.
Daniel is now successful and married to Amanda (Courtney Henggeler). They have two children, Samantha (Mary Mouser) and Anthony, whom Daniel struggled to connect with after Mr Miyagi passed away.
Johnny begins training a group of social outcasts. His students gain self-confidence under his tutelage and share feelings of camaraderie, unlike the past students of the Cobra Kai. Johnny and Miguel begin to bond similarly to Daniel and Mr Miyagi.
While he keeps the dojo’s philosophy mostly unchanged, Johnny takes a much more honourable approach to his students training than Kreese did with the former students of Cobra Kai.
Robby soon gets a job at Daniel’s car dealership and beings a rivalry with Miguel like Johnny and Daniels. Finally, Miguel wins the 2018 All-Valley Karate Tournament, but Johnny realises that he’s unintentionally corrupted his students.
After Cobra Kai’s victory, Kreese returns and tries to turn the dojo into what it once was, while Daniel decides to use Mr Miyagi’s old house as a dojo. While Daniel begins to train Robby and Sam, Johnny’s teachings start to be negatively influenced by his old sensei. Kreese convinces Johnny’s student to be more violent and vandalise Daniel’s dojo.
A massive rivalry between the two dojos builds, and a massive brawl is sparked, eventually leading to Miguel being paralysed after Robby kicks him over a balcony. Kreese takes over the Cobra Kai dojo, Miguel’s mother, Carmen (Vanessa Rubio), breaks up with Johnny and Amanda forces Daniel to stop teaching karate.
Daniel and Johnny form a temporary truce, though it is quickly broken because of Johnny’s violent nature. Johnny starts to bond with Robby a bit and helps Miguel recover, while Daniel helps Sam work through her fear. However, the Cobra Kai students keep attacking Daniel’s former students at the prompting of Kreese, and Johnny decides to start a second dojo called “Eagle Fang Karate”, taking over his most loyal students before cutting ties with Cobra Kai. After a fight with Kreese, Johnny and Daniel decide to work together to bring down Cobra Kai. Kreese calls in his old partner Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith).
Though Johnny and Daniel struggle, the unity between their students helps them work together, but there are still some difficulties, and their dojos split a couple of times. Silver and Kreese can’t agree on how to train for the tournament.
Robby eventually reconciles with Johnny when he breaks down about not being a good mentor, Daniel and Johnny decide to combine styles, and Kreese is arrested. Miguel heads off to look for his bi0logical, and Daniel enlists the help of an old rival, now friend, to help defeat Cobra Kai.
Johnny and Robby go searching for Miguel while Daniel spies on Cobra Kai. Miguel is eventually found and reunited with Johnny. Terry is warned away from the LaRussos, and after learning that an old associate of his betrayed him to Daniel, Terry burns down his store.
Miguel and Robby bond, and Johnny accidentally reveals that Carmen is pregnant. The boys are more than happy with this news. Daniel learns the truth about Kreese’s arrest, and Tory is seen working with Kreese to try and take Silver down. Daniel and Johnny trick Kreese into revealing Silver’s plans for entering his dojo into the Sekai Taikai. They bring their dojos in front of the committee at the Cobra Kai dojo. Johnny and Daniel’s dojos are allowed to compete after Tory runs away when she learns that Silver has rigged the fights again.
Miyahi-Do and Eagle Fang students work together to expose Silver’s true nature to the Cobra Kai students. They leave, and Silver is arrested. The students and senseis celebrate their victory, and audiences learn that Kreese faked his death.
What the Showrunners Have to Say About the Final Season
When Netflix finally announced that Cobra Kai was being renewed for its final season, Season 6, the showrunners followed it up with a heartfelt expression of gratitude towards their fans:
“When Daniel LaRusso arrived in the Valley with his mother in 1984, little did he know that his life was about to be forever changed. The same went for three young kids from New Jersey who hadn’t yet met one another. Daniel’s journey from bullied teen to underdog hero became an indelible part of our childhoods, and something that we would always carry with us in our hearts.
Reacquainting the world with The Karate Kid universe has been our humble honour. Making Cobra Kai has allowed us to joined the same hallowed dojo once inhabited by the great Robert Mark Kamen, John Avildsen, Jerry Weintraub, and all the amazing original cast members. It has also enabled us to play sensei, expanding the original storylines and birthing a new generation of underdogs. We’ve never once taken this opportunity for granted.
Our day one goal with Cobra Kai has always been to end it on our terms, leaving the Valley in the time and place we’ve always imagined. So it is with immense pride and thankfulness that we are able to announce that achievement. The upcoming Season 6 will mark the conclusion of Cobra Kai.
While this might be a bittersweet day for the fandom, the Miyaiverse has never been stronger. This fandom is the BEST on the planet and we hope to be telling more Karate Kid stories with you down the line. Because as we all know, Cobra Kai Never Dies.
In the meantime, strap in for the BIGGEST SEASON OF COBRA KAI YET. And let today be a celebration of all that’s come, as well as all that’s still left to be told. We couldn’t do it without you.
8 Things that Need to Happen in Cobra Kai Season 6 to Bring the Show Full Circle
1. The Return of Julie Pierce
Since Cobra Kai started in 2018, fans have seen cameos from several major characters from all three Karate Kid films. We’ve seen Randee Heller return as Lucille LaRusso, Elisabeth Shue return as Ali Mills Schwarber, and Tamlyn Tomita briefly reprises her role as Kumiko. We’ve also seen Yuki Okumoto return as Chozen Toguchi and Rob Garrison, and Ron Thomas and Tony O’Dell return as Johnny’s former friends Tommy, Bobby and Jimmy. Unfortunately, Rob Garrison passed away soon after reprising his role in Season 2, and the show honoured him through a tribute that read, “Cobra Kai Never Dies.”
The only actor who has yet to reprise her role is Hilary Swank as Julie Pierce, one of Mr Miyagi’s past students. Cobra Kai Season 6 is the last chance to refer to a part of the Karate Kid universe that is often forgotten because it mostly ignores the Daniel LaRusso films.
2. The Final Defeat of the Cobra Kai Dojo at the Sekai Taikai
Things are not looking great for the future of the Cobra Kai dojo at this point. After his student’s false victory at the All-Valley Tournament, Terry Silver decided that it was time for them to fight in the Sekai Taikai.
Many dojos compete for the global karate title in this international karate tournament. The Cobra Kai dojo and Johnny and Daniel’s unnamed dojo made it into the dojo, but that is when things quickly started to fall apart for Cobra Kai.
The fifth season ended with Terry Silver getting arrested and Johnny Kreese escaping prison and going on the run. The loss of Terry Silver left sensei Kim Da-Eun (Alicia Hannah-Kim) in charge of the Cobra Kai dojo. Unfortunately for her, many students left the dojo after learning that Silver bribed the referee during the All-Valley.
While sensei Kim could lead her diminished number of students to victory using her grandfather’s techniques, for the show to come full circle, the Johnny-Daniel dojo must defeat Cobra Kai in Season 6. The franchise started with a fight with Cobra Kai; it only makes sense for it to end with it too. Terry Silver’s plans for an expansion need to fail, and that can only happen with the final defeat of the dojo.
3. Johnny and Robby Training for the Sekai Taikai One-on-One
With Johnny and Daniel’s dojo’s having been selected to compete for the Sekai Taikai title together and Robby having transferred over from Cobra Kai, Johnny has been given the perfect opportunity to help train his son.
When Johnny first started training Miguel, he did so because he felt like he had failed Robby as a father and wanted to make a difference and do good in one boy’s life where he had fallen in the others. Unfortunately, this choice, along with several other mistakes Johnny has made along the way, pushes Robby away and has him asking Daniel to train him. This fractured their relationship even further.
Johnny overcame the many mistakes he made throughout his life by helping his students train. Similarly, Daniel trained Robby and helped him repurpose and work through his anger towards his father.
The two have never trained together (at least not properly), so having Johnny train Robby for the Sekai Taikai in Cobra Kai Season 6 would be the perfect way to complete their character arcs. The father will finally train his son how he was meant to.
Three characters would be perfect as the winner of the Sekai Taikai.
Robby Keene has made it to finals twice but lost each time because he was not ready to win. The first time he was angry at Johnny, and the second time, he was being manipulated through his anger. Until his redemption in season 5, Robby did not know for whom he was fighting. Now that he’s fixed his relationships with his friends and his father, he knows who he’s fighting for, and it would be the perfect time for him to be the one to bring the title home.
Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser) was robbed of a victory against Tory Nichols (Peyton List) at the All-Valley. This defeat significantly impacted her; it took most of season 5 for Sam to find herself again.
It culminated with her victory against Cobra Kai. Despite being one of the strongest fighters, she has yet to win a tournament, so having her win the Sekai Taikai would suit her character. The franchise started with an underdog LaRusso winning the tournament; doing that again would pay homage to the first film.
While Robby and Sam both have plenty of reasons to win, the show might take a more obvious turn. Miguel is, without a doubt, the show’s main character, though the focus has shifted away from him a bit. His and Johnny’s relationship has been reminiscent of Daniel and Mr Miyagi’s since the beginning, and he has been deemed the new “karate kid”.
Having Miguel win the Sekai Taikai in Season 6 would bring Cobra Kai full circle and be the perfect conclusion to Miguel’s journey.
5. Johnny Becomes the Leader of the Cobra Kai Dojo Again
When Cobra Kai first began, it flipped the script introduced in The Karate Kid films. It made the Cobra Kai dojo and Johnny the one’s who helped the new underdog “karate kid” and gave him the confidence he needed to make his way to the top. With Johnny trying to improve his old dojo’s image and do right by it and his new students, Daniel LaRusso actually almost became a bit of a villain in the first season.
Unfortunately, the dojo’s redemption was short-lived as the return of John Kreese and Terry Silver brought it back to what it had been in The Karate Kid films and turned all of Johnny’s well-meaning work on its head. It wouldn’t be right for the show to end with the Cobra Kai dojo as a villain that needs to be defeated.
Instead, in Season 6, Johnny should reclaim Cobra Kai as his own and revert it to how he had started it. It’d be fun to see Daniel and Johnny move from a bitter rivalry to a friendly rivalry between the dojos of their old senseis.
6. Redeeming Kreese
Only two villains from The Karate Kid films still need to be redeemed in Cobra Kai: John Kreese and Terry Silver.
The redemption of Terry Silver is challenging to imagine, especially after all the problems he’s caused during both the films and the series. He has threatened to and almost killed several characters, bribed referees, tortured his students, committed arson and betrayed his friend for his own personal gain. He is not a good person.
It has been suggested that he’s terminally ill and wants to create a legacy that will let his name live on. However, that doesn’t excuse forcing your student to punch through concrete bricks and damage their hands. Rather than a redemption arc, he needs to be defeated to that he can see that his plans to spread his teachings across the globe will never work.
On the other hand, Kreese receiving a redemption arc is a far more likely occurrence. Fans have already seen him near redemption at the end of the fifth season.
During a therapy session, Cobra Kai fans saw the character deconstructed as he was finally forced to confront his fears and failures for the first time. This moment could be hinting towards a future redemption.
His escape from prison has left Kreese’s future ambiguous. If he does return, he will probably still be a villain when we first see him in Season 6, but Cobra Kai cannot end until John Kreese is finally given a redemption arc and makes amends with his old student.
The show began by showing us what had become of Johnny Lawrence after the events of The Karate Kid. It has done an excellent job of letting him develop and grow from a depressed alcoholic to a sensei who is proud of his students and their accomplishments.
Johnny and Carmen are having a baby together. Miguel and Robby have smoothed over their relationship and treat each other like brothers. Johnny is on good terms with Robby’s mother once again, and Miguel understands how right Carmen was about his father. All sides of the family are finally getting along, so there could not be a perfect time for Johnny to marry Carmen.
To have the old Karate Kid villain married with a family and a baby on the way would be the perfect conclusion to Johnny Lawrence’s story.
8. One Last Flashback of Mr Miyagi
The Karate Kid films well because of its simplicity. The bond between Daniel LaRusso and Mr Miyagi was sweet and very funny at times, and it helped the film stand out from similar ones. Pat Morita’s character became a pop culture icon (which he continues to be even today), and his presence is felt in every corner of the show, whether through direct references or more subtle links between different characters.
As fun as Cobra Kai’s many karate action sequences and battles to the death are, it would be good for the show to return to its roots and the utilisation of cleverly placed Mr Miyagi flashbacks. They’re good callbacks to the films and allow new audiences to have a taste of a once-beloved character.
Netflix’s Cobra Kai Season 6 should conclude with one final flashback of Mr Miyagi and Daniel LaRusso.
Hannah Lieberum is, first and foremost, a geek with a passion for writing. Her love for reading, from the classics through to sci-fi, often needs her to focus and overanalyse the narrative of films and games, while her love for art allows her to see the beauty in unexpected shots. An excellent backstory will always win her over, and she will never pass up the opportunity to sit back, relax and watch Star Trek while petting her permanently grumpy cat.