The ending of Cobra Kai Season 4 wasn’t a great one for the good guys and presented many questions for what’s ahead in the next season. Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence weren’t able to prevent a Cobra Kai victory at the All Valley Tournament, which gave Terry Silver and John Kreese free rein to spread their dojos all across the Valley. Daniel swore he’d keep that from actually happening and even enlisted former foe Chozen Toguchi to help him help restore honor to Miyagi Do. It seemed Silver was at a disadvantage against those two (plus Johnny) after he framed Kreese for crimes, but this first look at Sean Kanan as Mike Barnes in Cobra Kai Season 5 might show he still has plenty of friends to work with.
That’s right! Daniel LaRusso’s most fearsome adversary from The Karate Kid III is making his debut in the Netflix (opens in new tab) series. The latest reveal from the Cobra Kai team didn't give away how or why Mike Barnes is back in the story. Executive Producers Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg released a shared statement about the latest look at Season 5, which could hold some clues on Barnes’ return:
As Terry Silver calls upon some old friends to put the Valley in a stranglehold, Daniel and Johnny are going to need all the help they can get to stop Cobra Kai in its tracks.
Based on that, I think it’s possible that Terry Silver realized he needed some more help running his franchise of Cobra Kai gyms. Mike Barnes is a prodigy who embraced the Cobra Kai lifestyle and, at one point, had a chance to have a 50% stake in Silver’s franchise had he defeated Daniel LaRusso way back when. Barnes put up about as good of a fight as all of Daniel’s past adversaries, but in the end, he fell short.
It would make sense if Terry Silver still had Mike Barnes’ number and that Barnes would want a second chance to be cut in on that franchise deal. Plus, he’s rocking an all-black gi in this first look, which is like the signature look for all Cobra Kai-affiliated practitioners. I think it’s fair to speculate that he’ll be working for Silver in the upcoming season, but perhaps he might surprise us when Season 5 rolls around. After all, we already know Silver will have some backup with the new incoming character Kim Da-Eun lending some aid.
Cobra Kai fans suspected Sean Kanan would return to The Karate Kid franchise after Kanan admitted in 2021 that he had discussions about a return, and also said he figured the show would like to work every former character in. His appearance in Season 5 will be a big win for fans who love returning stars and will shorten the list of characters we still need to see. Hopefully, his appearance means there’s still a chance of Hilary Swank reprising her role, as the creative team has at least discussed that idea.
For now, we can simply be excited that Sean Kanan is back when Cobra Kai Season 5 premieres on Friday, September 9th. Stream it with a Netflix subscription, and get ready for a season that will surely be one to remember.