Do these men and women even age?


One of the reasons Cobra Kai has struck such a chord with fans is nostalgia. The crux of the story is based on the reunion between, and reinvigorated rival of, Karate Kid characters Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. But many other characters from the first three Karate Kid movies have made appearances on the show, too.

Most are instantly recognizable to fans while with others, clever flashback scenes interwoven with the new show provide a welcome reminder. Chances are that many fans have gone back to re-watch the old movies, enjoying the villains and heroes and their 30+ year character arc.


Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso)

Ralph Macchio played the titular character in the original movies, the protagonist whose perspective fans saw the story from. He was the new kid at school who attracted the attention of the popular bullies when he took a liking to one of their ex-girlfriends.

Many jokes that Macchio, who is now 60 years old, has drunk from the fountain of youth as he never seems to age. Indeed, based on these photos, he still has the same youthful spirit in the role of a car dealership owner, husband, father, and karate mentor to a group of teenagers. He still has his edge as the character is part of the best fight scenes in Cobra Kai so far.

William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence)

Johnny Lawrence was the bully in the first movie who tormented Daniel but was eventually humiliated by him in that final fight and the iconic crane kick. Cobra Kai, however, gives fans another perspective about Johnny’s troubled home life, how Kreese manipulated him, and the sad turns his life took in adulthood as a result.

William Zabka has a similar youthful spirit to Macchio and looks just as good as he did back in the 1980s. His distinctive voice also remains. The character has finally achieved the redemption he needed to move forward, 30+ years later.

Martin Kove (John Kreese)

John Kreese – one of the first returning Karate Kid movie characters on Cobra Kai – was the primary antagonist of the first movie, a cruel karate sensei who was willing to do whatever it took to win. He coined the mantra “strike first” and taught his students “the way of the fist.” He was not opposed to lying, cheating, sabotaging, and even violence to get what he wanted.

Martin Kove played the character beautifully, and while he may no longer be the spritely man he was in the ‘80s when the original film was released, the now 75-year-old still manages to capture the essence of the character on the new show, complete with the same mannerisms are pursed lip, menacing look.

Thomas Ian Griffith (Terry Silver)

In the third movie, Terry Silver proved that he was far worse than Kreese as a sensei and human being. He tortured Daniel and manipulated him, turning him into a violent, angry fighter. He caused Daniel to go against his long-time sensei and mentor Mr. Miyagi. He physically and emotionally hurt Daniel.

Thomas Ian Griffiths sports the same long hair, though it’s now a lustrous shade of grey. One of the defining moments for his character on the show in season 4, before becoming the primary antagonist of season 5, is when he looks in the mirror and puts his hair into a ponytail, resurrecting his old sensei look.

Yuji Okumoto (Chozen Toguchi)

Chozen was Daniel’s foe in Karate Kid II, angry with Daniel for several reasons, including his relationship with Kumiko. In an epic battle, Chozen was willing to fight Daniel to the death. When Daniel beat him, however, he showed mercy.

Now 30+ years later, Chozen, played by Yuji Okumoto, might look the same, but the character has done a complete 180, becoming one of the most likable new characters in season 5 of Cobra Kai. After dealing with the embarrassment from the loss and the way he acted, Chozen did a lot of soul-searching. He became a good friend and ally to Daniel, and thus fans got to see the character smile a lot more than he did in the original movie.

Tamlyn Tomita (Kumiko)

Kumiko was Daniel’s love interest in the second Karate Kid movie. The beautiful woman who plays her, Tamlyn Tomita, has gotten older but looks just as stunning as she did back then.

While she and Daniel reignite their long-time friendship when they are reunited in Japan, the most interesting is when Chozen reveals to Johnny years later that he has feelings for Kumiko. Fans hope to see more of Kumiko should the show return for a sixth season.

Elisabeth Shue (Ali Mills)

Elisabeth Shue went on to appear in many more movies after she played Ali, Daniel’s love interest in the first movie and Johnny’s long-time girlfriend who is the catalyst for his first encounter with Daniel.

While Shue has traded her signature curly hair for a straighter do in most of her recent roles, including shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and The Boys, she still looks very much the same now as she did back then. Fans loved that she returned to the show to not only help Johnny get closure but also open his and Daniel’s eyes to the fact that they were more alike than they realized.

Ron Thomas (Bobby Brown)

Bobby is one of the three Cobra Kai members from Karate Kid, including Tommy and Jimmy, who reprised their roles for the new show. He has appeared in a few episodes, now a pastor, to help Johnny through difficult moments in life and with his son Robby.

While Bobby no longer sports a full head of hair, Ron Thomas who plays him looks much the same as he did back then. However, his attitude has changed and he was able to move past Kreese’s teachings. In Karate Kid, Bobby is the one who delivered the first severe kick to Daniel’s knee, but he was visibly reluctant to do it and appeared apologetic after the fact. Thus, his career path toward redemption and working as a pastor makes sense.

Sean Kanan (Mike Barnes)

As one of the top 10 plot twists in season 5 of Cobra Kai, fans loved Mike Barnes’ story as a redeemed man who found a new outlet for all the anger Kreese instilled in him, running a furniture business. He told Daniel he found calm in creating things for families to put into their homes to bring them joy.

Barnes appeared in the third Karate Kid movie as a sidekick for Terry Silver, doing much of his bidding and working hard to help terrorize Daniel. In Cobra Kai, he admits he wanted to reach out to Daniel multiple times to apologize but didn’t know if he should. Terry Silver, meanwhile, becomes a rival and fans get to see some of his old anger resurface, this time in support of Daniel instead of against him.

Robyn Lively (Jessica Andrews)

One of the returning characters fans might not have initially recognized was Jessica Andrews, played by Robyn Lively. Through flashbacks, however, it’s revealed that she is the female friend of Daniel’s in the third movie who worked at a pottery store. She was witness to, and even victim of, many of Terry Silver’s antics and cruelty towards Daniel.

The way she was worked into the story was clever, as Amanda LaRusso’s cousin apparently introduced her to Daniel. Sporting the same reddish hair, she has now let it go curlier. Interestingly, the woman she and Amanda fight with at the bar is said to be the same character who stole her boyfriend back then.

NEXT: 10 Things Redditors Want To See In Cobra Kai Season 6


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