The legendary Karate Kid franchise continues with the release of Cobra Kai season 2. The first season debuted on YouTube Premium last year and has received a lot of attention from audiences, both fans of the original franchise as well as first-time watchers.
After the shocking events of the season 1 finale, season 2 sees Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) pick up right where the series left off. As the trailer shows, the rivalry between the two has only gotten more intense, especially since Daniel has decided to open up his own karate training school, Miyagi-Do, in honor of his mentor Mr. Miyagi.
CelebMix had the opportunity to speak to one of the young talents in the series, Tanner Buchanan, who has been part of the show since season 1. Read below for our full interview with him.
Hi Tanner! Thank you so much for speaking with us about Cobra Kai. Where do we start off in season 2?
Season 2 we start off right where we left off last season, probably no later than 6-8 hours.
Can you tell us about your character for those who haven’t seen season one yet?
My character is Robby Keene, the son of Johnny Lawrence played by William Zabka. I’m the bad-boy type and in with the wrong crowd, I like to get into some trouble (laughs). My dad hasn’t been there for me and I don’t have a fatherly figure. Then, I find out that he’s opening Cobra Kai, a karate dojo, and he’s being more of a dad to Miguel, played by Xolo Maridueña, and it kind of makes me mad because he’s never been a dad to me but he chooses to be a dad to this kid, but I find a way to get back at him.
Yeah, we watched the trailer and we see Robby with Daniel, Johnny’s competitor.
Correct. That’s why I decide to get as close to his enemy as possible to try and make my dad just as mad as he made me, but in the process, I find deep respect and fatherly figure in Daniel and it turns into a relationship that Robby truly wants, not just to make his dad mad.
Can you tell us more about the rivalry between the dojos – Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do – in season 2?
Leaving off from season 1, Cobra Kai is on top. They kind of become these bullies in Daniel and Robby’s eyes and Daniel ends up opening Miyagi-Do because he wants to take Cobra Kai’s teachings and throw them out the window. He wants to show kids the way karate is supposed to be taught, with peace, respect, and balance, and not the strike-for-strike no mercy thing. It’s a fight for what’s the right way to teach these kids karate and what is going to be the best way to lead them in life.
We see a lot of references to the original Karate Kid movies in the trailer in terms of Daniel’s teachings. What was it like working with the original actors from the movies?
I worked with Ralph all the time. He’s the nicest guy ever, you can’t get any nicer than Ralph (laughs). It’s always a joy to work with him every day. I don’t get to work with Billy or Marty very often, but I know off-camera, I’ve gotten to know them as individuals and they’re just as nice as Ralph, down-to-earth, very caring people. It’s absolutely incredible to be around that kind of energy every day.
What was the training process like this time around compared to last season?
For season two, there’s ten times the fighting as there was in season one, so there was definitely more training. Less time, but more fighting, so we trained as hard as we could whenever we could to make all the fighting look perfect.
This season really focuses on the young students of each dojo. How does it feel to be a part of the next generation karate kids?
It’s absolutely incredible because this franchise, this world has been around for 35 years and Ralph, Billy, and Marty were that world. It’s something that is timeless and [the movies] are referenced all the time. I can’t wrap my mind around it sometimes, but I’m completely grateful to be part of it all.
What do you think is it about this franchise that has resonated with so many audiences of different ages?
In the 80s with the Karate Kid, there was a good guy and a bad guy. That was the idea that everybody loved and coming into Cobra Kai now, what the writers do an amazing job of is making everybody human. They make everybody relatable. There’s not a good guy. There’s not a bad guy. A human being is not perfect and that’s what I think resonates with a lot of ages. They’re [the characters] are going through situations that a lot of people are going through, or will go through, or know someone who has.
Why should people go and watch Cobra Kai today?
I think because you can relate to any character in the show and you’re going to feel for every character. It takes real life and puts you into it in an enjoyable way. There’s action, drama, comedy, it has the best aspects of everything anyone might like.