Cobra Kai Season 4 brought with it plenty of twists, turns, and shocking moments — but one of the biggest changes was the team between Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio).
The two have been at loggerheads since the original Karate Kid movie, but Season 4 sees them journey from enemy to enemy. While the joint-dojo effort doesn’t last long, with Daniels and Johnny going their separate ways through the season, they are eventually reunited at the All Valley Tournament.
We sat down with Cobra Kai co-creators Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg to break down all the wonders of Season 4, and discuss Johnny and Daniel’s difficult journey.
“There’s a natural similarity and conflict between those two that we can play into all the time,” says Schlossberg. “They are more mature, and where they are during our show, at the beginning of Season 4 and certainly at the end of Season 4, is in a place that is more advanced and mature than the end of The Karate Kids. And yet, Karate Kid’s events are always going to happen, those memories are always going to be there, things can always start. And they too, unlike these kids who are learning both sides – their whole lives like that. So even though they may appreciate the other side, it is far more difficult for them to merge or take the other side.”
The differences between Danielle’s and Johnny’s styles are explored throughout the season – but that’s not the only source of conflict between them.
“We really wanted to debate philosophy,” Schlossberg says. “We like to talk about being aggressive versus passive. We think there’s a yin and yang to life, and there’s an argument to both… you make this natural awkward couple joke with them that’s very At the same time, we want to grow the relationship, and it doesn’t feel repetitive.
“We’ve done that this season, with the conflicts they’re going on, we’re always trying to feel like we haven’t seen that yet,” he continues. “So in Season 4, it wasn’t like, ‘Well, they don’t like each other’s styles and they get into arguments.’ It was, ‘Okay, they start teaching each other’s students and Johnny sees Daniel forming a bond with Miguel, and Daniel sees his daughter starting to act like Johnny.’ And that puts something in them that we haven’t really seen before that leads to conflict, so it feels fresh. And yet, it’s giving the audience what I think we are in this dynamic. Want, that’s the struggle, come together, fight, come together. The hope is that we can keep that entertainment value, but without feeling repetitive, and moving towards something.”
Cobra Kai Season 4 is now streaming on Netflix. If you’re all caught up, check out our guide to the best Netflix shows to fill up your watchlist.