Cobra Kai has emerged as one of the biggest word-of-mouth hits of the last few years – and now the hotly-anticipated fourth season is almost upon us.
Combing a genuine affection for the previous films with a fresh story and dynamic new characters, the show has earned almost universal rave reviews and co-creator Josh Heald has teased there are still several seasons' worth of ideas in the pipeline.
In fact, co-creator and producer of Cobra Kai Jon Hurwitz revealed on Twitter that filming on season five has wrapped before season four has even debuted.
Cobra Kai is a spin-off series connected to The Karate Kid franchise. It revolves around the competitive martial arts scene in Southern California and stars Ralph Macchio as the titular character Daniel LaRusso and William Zabka as his foe Johnny Lawrence.
Coming courtesy of Sony Pictures Television, season four picks up after that dramatic season three finale, which saw Daniel and Johnny join forces to take on their nemesis John Kreese (Martin Kove) at the All Valley Tournament. The season has ties to The Karate Kid Part III and the new full trailer for season four hints at plenty of karate action and banter between the pair (read more on this below.)
Cobra Kai producer Josh Heald recently revealed that it was always his intention to have Johnny and Danny put their issues behind them and team up in season three, but also hinted at trouble to come for pair’s relationship in the fourth season.
Speaking to TVLine, Heald explained: “Giving them this moment was something we’ve always known was coming. We always felt like this was the time for it to happen, but we are doing it in a way where we’ve also established who these characters are.
“They’re both very strong minded in their own philosophies, ideals and pasts," he continued. "There does appear to be a very distinct battle ahead, a very clear boundary and set of circumstances that have brought them to this moment, but time will tell if history repeats itself and they fall back into old habits again, or if they’re going to be able to weather the storm and lean into each other to do the hard work of what it is to form a partnership.”
Read on for everything you need to know about Cobra Kai season four, including the latest release date, cast, plot and trailer news.
Cobra Kai season 4 release date
Cobrai Kai season four finally has a release date – the season will arrive on Netflix on 31st December 2021.
A fourth season of Cobra Kai had already been announced by Netflix three months prior to the debut of season three, such was the success of the first two seasons on the streamer after making the move from its original home on YouTube Premium.
Writing on Twitter shortly after the renewal, co-creator Jon Hurwitz explained that they'd been expecting a season four as soon as they agreed to take the series to Netflix, and that it was confirmed after the huge interest in the show.
"When we moved to Netflix, they had us open up a writers room with us all expecting we'd be making a season four," he wrote. "That said, the show needed to perform well for us to officially get picked up."
Hurwitz announced in October 2020 that it was the last day of the season four writers room and that scripts had been "rolling in" – so we knew significant progress has been made on that front.
Filming began in January 2021 and producer Jon Hurwitz announced at the end of April that production had wrapped.
It also seems all but certain that it won't be the last we see of Cobra Kai, with Josh Heald revealing that there are "multiple seasons" left and that the end of show "is not fast approaching".
As reported by Fandom, the co-creator said: "We still have a multi-season story in our heads to resolve this in the way that we want to resolve it. I can’t say how many seasons it is because it always gets a little bit cloudy as we grow.
"You know, I’ve said it before, but there are storylines that we’ve kicked and we’ve gotten to, and there are storylines that we’ve kicked and we haven’t even approached yet.
"We have multiple seasons of this story left in us to tell, but the fun of this show is that it always hits a new climax that feels like this is it, you know?"
Cobra Kai season 3 recap
After another exciting season, series three ended in dramatic circumstances, with Daniel and Johnny putting aside their differences and joining forces against John Kreese.
Speaking of Kreese, the season also delved deeper into his backstory, providing fans with a look at the profound affect his experiences in Vietnam had on him and his journey to becoming a true villain.
Then at the end, having been defeated by Daniel, Johnny and their respective dojos, John reached out to a former army pal by the name of Terry Silver – a character who previously appeared in The Karate Kid 3.
As for the final set-piece itself, it saw an attack on the La Russo house by a handful of Cobra Kai students including Tory, Hawk, and Kyler, with a major fight ensuing between them and Daniel and Johnny's now-united dojos.
Afterwards, Kreese agreed that whichever dojo was victorious at the forthcoming All Valley tournament will get to stay together while the other must disband.
At the very end, we saw Johnny and Daniel teaching a karate class together – finally united.
Cobra Kai season 4 plot
While it's too early to say exactly what might happen in season four, we can certainly make a few educated guesses – and there are a couple of things that are all but guaranteed to happen.
A highly anticipated event in the next season will be the 51st All-Valley Karate Tournament, which will see the Miyagi-do and Eagle Fang dojos team up and take on Cobra Kai, with an awful lot at stake.
It remains to be seen exactly who will fight in the competition, but we'd be willing to put forward Samantha and Miguel as the likely candidates for Johnny and Daniel's combined forces, with John Creese likely to rely on the likes of Robby Keene, Tory, and Kyler.
It's unclear if the lead-up to the tournament will take up the bulk of the fourth season, or whether the tournament will take place in an early episode before the narrative turns to other issues, but we'll keep this page updated as more details emerge.
And season four is unlikely to wrap up the story once and for all, with the creators teasing many more seasons to come. Speaking to TVLine, Heald said: "We have an endgame in our heads. We’ve had one for quite some time, and it’s not in season four. 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."
As for the cast members, they're as in the dark about future developments as we are. Speaking to RadioTimes.com ahead of the debut of season three, Sam LaRusso actor Mary Mouser revealed that she was still trying to piece what the future holds for her character.
When asked how much she knows about the fourth season and beyond, Mouser explained, “Not much at all. We have three amazing creators, writers, directors, showrunners – the little machine that makes this show go. I’ve been tugging on their sleeve, but they’re smart enough to keep me waiting, and not telling me anything!”
And we also know now that the season will include a return for Karate Kid III villain Terry Silver – although how big his role is remains to be seen.
Cobra Kai season 4 cast
We'd expect to see most of the main cast return for series four, including franchise legends Ralph Macchio, William Zabka and Martin Kove as Daniel LaRusso, Johnny Lawrence and John Kreese respectively.
It's also likely that we'll be seeing more of the younger cast members such as Mary Mouser, Xolo Maridueña, Tanner Buchanan and Jacob Bertrand.
Nothing has been confirmed about any new faces at this stage, but it is highly probable that we could see some extra cast members join the fray for a fourth season as well.
Then there's the matter of more familiar faces from the Karate Kid films joining up: and it's now been confirmed that Thomas Ian Griffith, who played Kreese's friend Terry Silver in Karate Kid 3 and who is called by Kreese at the end of series three.
The news was confirmed in an official teaser trailer on Thursday 27th May 2021, and Griffith later said that it was "an incredible opportunity" to bring the character back.
Before the news was confirmed, co-creators Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg had teases that it could be something to look out for.
"Just because Kreese reached out to somebody, doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s returning to the show," Hurwitz told TVLine. "That said, 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 four, we’d hope that he’d be the one playing him."
Schlossberg added: "There’s no confirmation, anything can happen, really. But I will say: If you do love Terry Silver, this is probably the best show to tune into to see if he does show up."
And another film character who has been tipped for a return is professional karate fighter Mike Barnes, who was played in the films by Sean Kanan.
Kanan himself has suggested there's a possibility he could appear, although he said there was no more concrete information to confirm at this stage.
Speaking to The Desert Sun in January 2021, he revealed: "I think (the creators) would like to work everybody in. At least 50 people a day hit me up on Instagram asking me if I’m coming back for season four. I think there’s a definite possibility, but I can neither confirm nor deny."
And then there's even an outside chance of an appearance for two-time Oscar winner Hillary Swank, who originally made her big-screen breakthrough as Julie Pierce in The Next Karate Kid before embarking on a hugely successful career in film and TV.
In an interview with Cinema Blend before the release of season three, Hurwitz explained: "In our writers’ room we speak about literally every character that has appeared in the Miyagi-verse, so it’s obvious that we’ve spoken about Julie Pierce. As to whether or not she’ll return to the series, that’s something you’ll just have to wait to find out."
Cobra Kai season 4 trailer
We don't have a full trailer just yet – but fans have been treated to a couple of very exciting teaser trailers.
The first arrived in May 2021, with a short 22-second clip teasing the return of Terry Silver. We hear one of Silver's most famous quotes from Karate Kid III: "If a man can't stand, he can't fight. If a man can't breathe, he can't fight. If a man can't see, he can't fight".
Check it out below.
Then in August, another clip was released by Netflix – this time serving as an advert for the All Valley Karate Tournament and showing us brief glimpses of some of the key characters in action.
A voiceover says: “Fasten your gi, Tie your belt, Karate is coming to the world’s biggest stage, where legends are born. Welcome back to the All Valley Karate Tournament” while we also see several shots of the main characters practising their skills."
You can watch it below.
A full trailer was released in December 2021, teasing more of the karate action between Lawrence and LaRusso. Watch below: