From Daniel LaRusso’s (Ralph Macchio) return to Okinawa to a September shooting date, audiences learned a lot about the third season of YouTube Premium’s Cobra Kai series at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con. Despite these and other occasional nuggets of news, however, co-creators Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg and Josh Heald were understandably cautious about revealing too much too soon about what’s to come.
Or, as Schlossberg jokes during the trio’s conversation with Den of Geek, “spoilers!”
Thankfully, the Cobra Kai creative team was more than willing to discuss the specific themes that the critically acclaimed series would be exploring in season 3.
“Season 1 was a lot about the rivalry getting reignited between Johnny and Daniel,” Heald reminds us. “Season 2 became this kind of redemptive journey, where we were seeing John Kreese come back. It’s an unexpected redemption. There was the flip, obviously, of who that sensei is, and then we burned everything down.”
As for season 3, Heald explains that Cobra Kai’s next entry was going to be all about “rebuilding.”
“It’s rebuilding and rehabilitation,” he says. “We find everybody where we left them, where a lot of people were kind of thrown to the wind. There’s been an explosion, and storylines that were inextricably linked are now severed. So, you have a lot of characters and storylines that are suddenly isolated from one another at the beginning of the season, as a result of what’s happened. And as we get into season 3, the goal is to see what can be repaired and what can’t, and how people respond to what happened.”
Viewers who have seen the season 2 finale will no doubt understand what Heald means by “explosion,” as practically everything that Daniel and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) have tried to build has been utterly razed by their own demons. The Miyagi-Do Daniel created to compete with Johnny’s reopened Cobra Kai has been closed per the insistence of his wife, Amanda (Courtney Henggeler). As for the Cobra Kai, the villainous John Kreese (Martin Kove) has taken over and kicked his former student to the curb.
“Despite the flaws that they each have, they both meant well. They both were trying to do the right thing throughout season 2 and the end result was a nightmare,” adds Hurwitz. “What you end up seeing with season 3 is, ‘How do you respond after that when you’ve tried your best to show your students the right way, only for it to become a disaster?’ Or, will Johnny and Daniel fall into deep holes? Will they come back roaring?”
That, Heald argues, is “a big theme” in the upcoming third season. So, too, is the idea of “confronting the past and exploring the origins of both sides of the karate and the valley that we know, from the movies and from the series.” For as both he and Schlossberg contend, these characters cannot confront the consequences of their actions (or inactions), and move beyond them, without looking to the past.
As for precisely how Cobra Kai season 3 is going to do that, all three are keeping mum about the details. “We’ll find out,” Hurwitz concludes.
The first two seasons of Cobra Kai are available to stream on YouTube Premium.