Could Cobra Kai Bring Back A Famous Karate Kid Villain? Here’s What The Actor Thinks

Sean Kanan as Mike Barnes in The Karate Kid Part III (1989)

One of the great things about Cobra Kai is that it manages to build upon the lore of The Karate Kid, all while adding new things to the franchise. Still, the show has a knack for bringing back and perfectly utilizing veteran characters like Elisabeth Shue’s Ali Mills and Tamlyn Tomita’s Kumiko. There are plenty of other fan favorites viewers are likely hoping to see, and the finale hinted that at least one more could be on the way. However, there’s one villain whose status has been left up in the air so far - Mike Barnes. Now, actor Sean Kanan has shared his thoughts on the possibility of his character’s return.

The last time we saw Sean Kanan don a black and gold Cobra Kai uniform, it was in 1989’s The Karate Kid Part III, in which his Mike Barnes faced off with Ralph Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso in the All-Valley Karate Tournament. Now, with Cobra Kai plucking characters from different parts of the franchise, there could be an opportunity for him to return. Kanan is well aware of the hit Netflix show, and he doesn’t think it would be impossible for Barnes to show his face again:

I think (the creators) would like to work everybody in. At least 50 people a day hit me up on Instagram asking me if I’m coming back for season four. I think there’s a definite possibility, but I can neither confirm nor deny.

Although Sean Kanan’s return seems to be far from a sure thing, his recent comments to The Desert Sun should serve as encouragement for fans hoping to see Mike Barnes. The creators of Cobra Kai do seem keen on bringing in classic characters, even Hilary Swank’s Julie Pierce. So there’s reason to hope Mike Barnes could have a role at some point in the future if the story needs him.

Mike Barnes was arguably the most vicious opponent Daniel LaRusso faced in the original Karate Kid trilogy. While Johnny Lawrence and Chozen were formidable opponents, Barnes paired his intense karate moves with fierce intimidation. But ultimately, Daniel was able to overcome Barnes, with the help of the kata techniques he learned from Mr. Miyagi.

Cobra Kai has handled former antagonists in a myriad of ways. Johnny is no longer a high school bully and is now a layered antihero. Likewise, Chozen was brought back as a remorseful and cerebral figure, a major contrast from the arrogant young man he was. However, Kreese is still as evil as ever and, if Mike Barnes is ever brought back, there’s a good chance his temper won’t have subsided with age.

Because of the surprising ways Cobra Kai has brought familiar faces back into the fray, there’s no telling how Mike Barnes could come back into play. But it’s still good to know Sean Kanan is up for it should it come to pass.

The first three seasons of Cobra Kai are available to stream on Netflix.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.