It may have seemed like Johnny Lawrence was the villain to Daniel LaRusso's hero in The Karate Kid, but franchise sequel series Cobra Kai has spent three seasons establishing Johnny's former sensei as the villain to end all villains. John Kreese, played once again by Martin Kove, arrived on the series at the end of Season 1 and has since become the main antagonist for both Daniel and Johnny. By the end of Season 3, Kreese gains even more power as the sole sensei at the Cobra Kai dojo.
ComicBook.com recently sat down with Cobra Kai executive producers and co-creators Josh Heald, John Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg, who broke down the evil evolution of John Kreese.
"We knew from the beginning that Kreese had been the big bad wolf of the franchise," Heald told us. "In the '80s, there was Darth Vader and there was John Kreese in terms of movie villains that frightened us as kids and rooms in which we didn't want to enter. So we knew there was real power in Kreese and it contributed to why we waited until the very end of the first season to bring him back. Because he's such a figure that takes all the life out of the room and draws focus that you want to give his moment gravitas and lean into that character for that fear and experience it through Johnny's eyes and be with Johnny on that journey. So at first, we had to get our audience with Johnny."
"Then we had to experience a little bit of growth and then we had to bring back, that fearful figure. Once we brought him back in Season 2, we began the work of getting into John Kreese's past," Heald continued. "Not going so far back, but going back to the in-between years, the years after Karate Kid Part III and redeeming him a little bit in the way that he was a broken man who has regret in his life and was only trying to help. But once we've taken the leap of doing what we did at the end of season two and seeing Kreese, actually take a stranglehold to Cobra Kai, and take it back from Johnny. It required a little bit more digging to continue to have the audience to be willing, to not necessarily be on Kreese's side, but to understand what his side even is, rather than just have him be a mustache twirling figure, who's going to come in and grab things."
Have you enjoyed the return of John Kreese in Cobra Kai? What do you think will happen in Season 4? Let us know in the comments!