The Karate Kid is one of the many classic 80s films to get revived in the 21st Century. We’ve seen sequels for The Terminator, Alien, Star Wars, and even reboots of franchises such as Dredd and Robocop. Yet, it’s arguable that none of them were revived or rebooted as well as The Karate Kid. The hit trilogy received a spin-off show called Cobra Kai, which premiered exclusively on YouTube Red in 2018 before moving to Netflix, becoming one of the streamer’s biggest and most beloved hits.
Unlike the 2011 Karate Kid reboot movie, Cobra Kai is a direct continuation of the original trilogy. We follow Johnny Lawrence, one of the bullies seen in the first film, and how his life has fallen since the battle in the All Valley Tournament. Here, Johnny opens up a dojo and revives the Cobra Kai name and mantra. We see a slew of returning characters and new kids learning the ways of Cobra Kai and Mr. Miyagi.
Cobra Kai is a series with one of the biggest casts on TV, and it can be challenging to keep track of every character. Luckily, we took the time to craft an extensive guide through the world of The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai. Here is every major player in the hit Netflix series.
Returning Karate Kid Characters
In a twist on the original franchise, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) is the main character of Cobra Kai. We last saw him getting kicked in the face by Daniel LaRusso at the end of The Karate Kid. Now, he’s a middle-aged man who seemingly peaked in high school. When we first meet Johnny in the present-day, he’s at a very low place. Still, after meeting Miguel and teaching him how to stand up for himself, Johnny realizes that teaching Karate is his calling -becoming a mentor for Miquel and the other kids who enroll at Cobra Kai.
After his old sensei, John Kreese, renters the picture, Johnny has to deal with the changes in his students. Eventually, some of his students favor Kreese’s harsher methods, forcing Johnny to start a new dojo separate from the now Kreese-led Cobra Kai, Eagle Fang Karate, and no, Eagles don’t have fangs.
Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) was the star of The Karate Kid trilogy and rival of Johnny Lawrence. After the events of The Karate Kid Part III, Daniel met his wife Amanda, has two children, and now runs one of the most prominent car dealerships in California. His life of luxury and success is the complete opposite of Johnny’s, and that contrast, along with the difference in their master’s philosophy, constantly has them at odds with each other.
This rivalry leads to Daniel starting a new dojo, Miyagi Do Karate, where he teaches a less aggressive philosophy, in stark contrast to Johnny’s Cobra Kai. With Kreese in the picture, Daniel and Johnny eventually combine their dojos in a united front against Cobra Kai, leading into the events of season four.
The founder of Cobra Kai, John Kreese (Martin Kove), makes his triumphant return in the season one finale. Johnny’s old master appears to have changed from the taskmaster we’ve come to know from the films, but as the story progresses, we see that he’s as ruthless as ever. From there on, Kreese becomes the main antagonist becoming a problem to both Johnny and Daniel, to the point where Johnny loses control of his dojo.
In season three, we have flashbacks to his military days and see Young Kreese (Barrett Carnahan) learn the harsh truths of war and how it influences his actions in the present day. Kreese starts to build his army of karate masters and weeds out the weaker fighters in Cobra Kai, and now, only the ruthless remain.
Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) is a close friend of John Kreese and one of the main characters from The Karate Kid Part III. In that film, we learned that Silver gifted Kreese the Cobra Kai dojo, and at the end of season three, we learned that Kreese has requested Silver for help. We haven’t seen Terry Silver yet, but he will be a major player in season four, likely serving as a new foil for Daniel and Johnny.
Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) is a high school student and the next-door neighbor of Johnny Lawrence. After Johnny sees Miguel getting jumped, he decides to take him under his wing, making him the first student of the newly revamped Cobra Kai. Miguel and Johnny have a very special relationship and are helping each other for the better. Under Johnny’s tutelage, Miguel is finally able to fight back. He inspires the “nerds” to join Cobra Kai and learn self-defense, eventually leading to him winning the All Valley tournament.
The Cobra Kai mentality starts to affect Miguel negatively, and he starts to become more hot-headed and aggressive. After his season two fight with Robby, a battle so brutal it left Miguel in a coma, Miguel began to realize that a more level-headed approach to life is better than the No Mercy mentality Johnny initially taught him. This ends with him reuniting with his friends at Myagi-Do and Eagle Fang.
Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser) is the daughter of Daniel and is in a relationship with Miguel. The two are caught in the middle of Johnny and Daniel’s rivalry, which makes their relationship complicated. Sam eventually joins her father’s new Myagi-Do dojo, which leads to even more drama as she gets closer to Johnny’s son, Robby Keene.
Sam was taught karate at a very early age, learning from Daniel and even Mr. Myagi when she was little. She’s been caught up in this karate rivalry and started helping her father train the Myagi-Do students.
Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan) is Johnny’s son and is taken in by the LaRusso family. Johnny was never in Robby’s life, and his mother wasn’t around enough to raise him properly. The kindness that the LaRusso’s showed Robby was helping him change, but after a run-in with John Kreese, he starts to go down a dark path, just like Johnny did back in the 80s.
After putting Miguel in a coma, Robby ends up in juvey and wants nothing to do with Daniel or Johnny. The love triangle between Sam, Miguel, and Robby only complicates things further. This experience only pushes him further into the hands of Kreese, leading to him switching sides by the end of season three.
Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz
Like Miguel, Eli Moskowitz (Jacob Bertrand) is a teenager who’s constantly bullied, but after joining Cobra Kai, he finds his confidence. Unfortunately, the new Eli (now going by Hawk) channels his rage into false bravado, making him the bully he was trying to stand up to not long ago.
Hawk quickly becomes the most vicious of the Cobra Kai students. He starts picking fights, relishing the chance to battle someone. After all of his friends leave, he begins to realize that Kreese is a bit of a psychopath. He starts to change his ways and joins the others at the new Eagle Fang and Myagi Do dojo.
Tory Nichols (Peyton List) joins Cobra Kai in season two, and from the beginning, we see she’s already on Miguel’s level of fighting prowess. After his breakup with Sam, Tory and Miguel start to date, but he still has feelings for his ex-girlfriend. This is the start of her rivalry with Sam, but things only escalate when John Kreese takes over Cobra Kai.
Kreese knows that Tory is by far the strongest fighter in Cobra Kai, so he does everything he can to make sure she holds on to her anger and rage. He manipulates her and Robby so he can create the best fighters possible. Unfortunately, for everyone else, Tory seemingly loves the new Cobra Kai, meaning they’ll have a hand full if they cross paths with Tory again.
Demitri (Gianni Decenzo) is a friend of Miguel and Hawk but does not like Johnny or Kreese’s teaching methods. He’s a bit of a coward, and that makes him the odd one out in their friend group. Though, he does eventually find his fighting spirit when he switches to Myagi-Do Karate.
Amanda LaRusso (Courtney Henggeler) is Daniel’s wife and co-founder of the LaRusso Auto Group. She’s often the voice of reason and constantly tries to get Daniel to end his rivalry with Johnny. In season three, we see Amanda becoming more aggressive when Kreese takes over Cobra Kai.
Kreese seems to bring the worst out of everyone, and Amanda is the only person who thought to call the police regarding this gang war. Unfortunately for her, Kreese is always three steps ahead.
Miguel’s mother, Carmen Diaz (Vanessa Rubio), is reluctant about her son learning karate, but after seeing how happy it made Miguel, she ended up letting him train with Johnny. Her relationship with Johnny grows from there, and they even started dating, but after Robby put Miguel in a coma, she broke all ties with Johnny and rightfully blamed him for what happened.
After Miguel’s recovery, Carmen eventually let Johnny back into her life, but the two have not started dating again. Johnny never gets to confess his feelings because Miguel is caught up in another fight against Kreese’s Cobra Kai.
Guest Stars and Cameos
Daniel and Johnny’s old flame from 1984, Ali is one of the few characters returning from the original Karate Kid movie. Played by the fantastic Elisabeth Shue, Ali makes a special appearance and reconnects with Johnny and later Daniel. She and Daniel’s wife, Amanda, hit it off right away as they talked about how intense Johnny and Daniel’s rivalry is and how they haven’t changed after these years.
Ali is married (albeit separated) to her husband, Dr.Gregory Schwarber. Johnny initially reached out to Ali in the first two seasons. Still, after developing feelings for his neighbor, Carmen, he and Ali never pursue any romantic relationship and will remain friends.
The late Pat Morita is seen in various flashbacks to The Karate Kid trilogy. Even though Mr. Myagi isn’t making any new appearances in the series, his presence is felt, and his spirit lives on. Through Daniel opening Myagi-Do Karate and sharing what he learned with his students, Mr. Myagi is one of the most essential characters in the entire series.
Daniel’s mother, Lucille LaRusso (Randee Heller), makes an appearance in the series. We last heard from her in The Karate Kid Part III, where she was off taking care of Daniel’s Uncle Louie LaRusso Sr. In the present day, she makes a special appearance in Cobra Kai, visiting Daniel and his family for dinner.
Tommy, Bobby, and Jimmy
Johnny’s old high school friends make a special appearance in the second season of Cobra Kai. Tommy (the late Rob Garrison) is gravely ill and isn’t expected to live much longer. Johnny and friends Jimmy (Tony O’Dell) and Bobby (Ron Thomas) decide to have one more adventure together. The four friends go out drinking, hiking, and hanging out like old times.
This episode is extremely touching as it pays tribute to Rob Garrison is passed away not long after filming this episode.
After Daniel is forced to make a business trip to Tokyo, Japan, he takes some time to visit Mr. Myagi’s hometown of Okinawa. There, he reunites with Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita), and she helps Daniel remember the teachings of his former sensei. This encounter ultimately led to him learning how to save his Automotive business.
Kumiko achieved her dream of traveling and now heads a dancing group in Okinawa. Kumiko and Daniel’s connection is just as strong here as in The Karate Kid Part II.
Once Daniel reconnects with Kumiko, she reintroduces him to Chozen (Yuji Okumoto). Initially, he was the main antagonist in The Karate Kid Part II. After seeing Daniel again, Chozen reveals that he spent the rest of his life regretting his actions and felt great shame after The Karate Kid Part II events.
Chozen has changed his ways and helped Daniel understand the philosophy of Myagi-Do Karate. He even teaches Daniel a pressure point technique to immobilize his opponents, something Daniel later uses in a fight with Kreese.
Yuna (Traci Toguchi) makes an appearance and helps Daniel keep his dealership. We were first introduced to Yuna when Daniel saves her from a typhoon in The Karate Kid Part II. Presently, she’s the Senior Vice President of Sales for Donyona International, the same company Daniel needed to see in the first place.
She manages to help Daniel and allows his lifetime contract with Doyona to stand, making sure he doesn’t lose the company he’s worked so hard to build from the ground up.
Louie LaRusso Jr.
Played by Bret Ernst, Louie LaRusso is Daniel’s cousin and is a troublemaker at the LeRusso company. Daniel was doing Louie a favor by hiring him on to his company, but he is lazy and even sets Johnny’s car on fire at one point. He was fired in season one but later given a second chance in season 3.
Anoush Norouzi (Dan Ahdoot) is one of the employees of the LeRusso automotive company. Anoush is one of the most reliable employees for Daniel and Amanda, consistently helping clean up Louie’s messes.
Later, Daniel and Amanda’s rival, Tom Cole, offers Anoush a higher position and better pay. Anoush is willing to give Daniel and Amanda a chance to match the offer, but Daniel never shows up to the meeting because he’s preoccupied with his dojo. Anoush accepts the offer but later returns to LaRusso Auto and tells them that Cole is trying to force Doyona International to end their contract with the LaRusso’s.
Kyler is the bully Johnny saves Miguel from at the beginning of the series. He’s a high school wrestler, bully, and coward. Kyler and his friends have no issue attacking people they view as weaker than them, but once Miguel learns how to fight back, Kyler starts to back off and even fears Miguel.
Kyler is also Sam’s ex-boyfriend, which only adds fuel to the fire when it comes to his grudge against Miguel and the rest of his friends. In season three, he joins Cobra Kai and becomes a foil for Hawk while also becoming friends with Tory and Robby.
Yasmine (Annalisa Cochrane) goes to West Valley High School with Miguel, Demitri, Hawk, and Sam. She’s your typical popular girl who doesn’t want anything to do with those below her social status. This leads to her clashing with the students of Cobra Kai, who were often the ones being bullied.
After a confrontation with Aisha, Yasmine started to understand what it felt like to be laughed at and realized she was wrong. Once the hierarchy of power changed, so did she. Yasmine has become a friend to those she looked down on and even started dating Demitri.
Yasmine’s best friend, Moon (Hannah Kepple), is another supporting character from West Valley High. Like Yasmine, she was close friends with Sam at the start of the series, but the three had a falling out. After the events of season one, Moon quickly changed and became one of the more forgiving and compassionate characters in the series. She started dating Hawk but ended their relationship after he began to bully Demetri. Moon is often one of the few students trying to put a stop between the dojos and wants everyone to be friends.
Aisha (Nichole Brown) was one of Sam’s friends in the first two seasons. Yasmine and Moon were bullies to Aisha, and that drove a wedge between her and Sam. She eventually joins Cobra Kai and becomes one of Johnny’s top students. However, after the events of the season two finale, her parents moved from the Valley and enrolled her in a new school.
Mitch (Aedin Mincks) quickly joins Cobra Kai and becomes a bully after adopting their “Strike First. Strike Hard. No Mercy.” philosophy. He’s eventually bested by Kyler and is kicked out of Kreese’s dojo. He later joins his friends, Chris and Bert, at Eagle Fang Karate.
Like Mitch, Chris (Khalil Everage) is one of the new members of Cobra Kai, but he did not take kindly to their ruthless mentality. So, he joins Myagi-Do Karate and trains under Daniel and Sam. There, he becomes close friends with Demetri and the other members of the dojo.
Bert (Owen Morgan) is the youngest student at Cobra Kai but still manages to hold his own against the rest of his opponents. He is exiled out of Cobra Kai once Kreese takes over and later joins Eagle Fang Karate. He also has a rivalry with Nathaniel, the youngest student in Myagi-Do Karate.
Nathaniel (Nathaniel Oh) initially was a student of Cobra Kai, where he was best friends with Bert. Though, when he learned that the Cobra Kai students destroyed the Myagi-Do dojo, he, along with Chris, left Cobra Kai and joined Myagi-Do Karate.
Stingray (Paul Walter Hauser) is the only adult member of Cobra Kai and happens to be one of the most ruthless. Johnny only lets him join because he is a paying customer, and so his involvement in this teenage drama is often for laughs. He’s eventually arrested for participating in the school fight in the season 2 finale.
Robbie’s mother, Shannon Keene (Diora Baird), is someone we don’t know much about outside of her relationship with Robby and Johnny. We know she raised Robby and has long broken up with Johnny, but we only see her bar hopping in the present day. She is now in rehab and seems to be making strides in the right direction.
Her relationship with Robbie is complicated and is one of the reasons he moves in with the LeRusso’s. She later appears in season three, where we learn that she’s currently in rehab. After everything that’s happened in her life, she’s finally ready to make a change.
Daniel and Amanda’s son, Anthony Larusso (Griffin Santopietro), doesn’t often appear, probably because he has zero interest in karate. We see him when scenes involve the entire LaRusso family, but he’s usually off playing video games.
Lynn (Susan Gallagher) is a character who appears in the series for the sole reason of annoying Johnny. She’s homeless and is often seen near the Cobra Kai dojo, and her interactions with Johnny are usually played for laughs, so it’s always fun when she makes an appearance.
Tom Cole (David Shatraw) is the owner of Cole’s on Van Nuys. He’s Daniel and Amanda’s business foil and is often trying to compete with LaRusso Auto. He sent Daniel 100 sausages after his billboard was vandalized; he also convinced Anoush to leave the LaRusso’s company. However, after Anoush alerted the LaRusso’s about Cole’s attempt to convince Doyona International to terminate their contract, Yuna steps in and saves Daniel’s business.