Cobra Kai stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka balance each other out in EW's digital cover shoot
Cobra Kai stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka took a break from shooting season 5 of their Emmy-nominated Netflix comedy to bring some sensei energy to EW's digital cover shoot on Dec. 5 in Atlanta. (Read the full story here.)
Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence have very different definitions of masculinity. So where does Ralph Macchio fall? "I'm much more Miyagi-Do than I am Cobra Kai or Eagle Fang," says the actor. "Balancing your life and avoiding a fight when you can and not punching someone first—just because you disagree with them—is probably the way I would do it. I've never been an in-your-face guy."
Zabka was excited for the arrival of Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) in Cobra Kai season 4, even though Johnny Lawrence never crossed paths with Silver in the Karate Kid movies. "What I love is that Johnny literally has no idea who this character is," says Zabka. "This is just a guy with a ponytail showing up in his life, and Johnny has no idea of the danger that he poses, and the threat that he poses. But Daniel does see it, he's actually right about this one. This guy is bad news and Johnny doesn't see it."
"The fan service never comes before the ability to tell organic story with these compelling characters and allowing them to evolve," says Macchio of Daniel and Johnny's ongoing struggle to find common ground. "And that's why I think it's working so well."
Daniel and Johnny "come together at the end of season 3 earnestly with their hearts on the sleeves, ready to start this together," says Zabka. But "they had bumps along the way. It's a slow evolution to working through those differences and to understanding."
Cobra Kai creators and EPs Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald, and Hayden Schlossberg couldn't wait to bring Johnny and Daniel together in season 4. "We know that they are opposites, they're the Yin and the Yang," says Schlossberg. "We take full advantage of that, both comedically and dramatically."
Joining Thomas Ian Griffith in the Cobra Kai universe this season are Dallas Dupree Young as Kenny and Oona O'Brien as Devon. "It's good for the longevity of the show. The cast, it's like The Ten Commandments now," jokes Macchio. "It's unbelievable how big it is! The budget stays the same, but the show gets bigger and bigger. And everyone's good."
As fans saw in the trailer, Johnny gets acquainted with the koi pond at Miyagi-Do in season 4. "Climbing outta that thing is quite dangerous," notes Zabka with a laugh. "You get a lot of stubbed toes and banged knees in that little dangerous koi pond of Miyagi-Do, with all the rocks and all the slippery moss. I don't recommend it for the youth."