Who would've thought that Cobra Kai, YouTube Red's once-underhyped 30-years-later spin-off continuation to 1984's beloved martial arts coming-of-age classic, The Karate Kid, would eventually become one of the most celebrated and heavily-watched shows in Netflix history? Talk about an underdog story! With its mix of classic characters and a fresh, darkly comedic take on the material, this streaming series remains as popular as ever, particularly with its much-anticipated fourth season set to premiere later this year.
Starring William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence, along with Ralph Macchio reprising his role as Daniel LaRusso, Cobra Kai incorporates heavy '80s nostalgia but it never loses its modern focus. Therefore, it's easy to see how this sequel show became such a huge hit. With an ensemble filled with fresh and familiar faces, you might be wondering how you recognize the Cobra Kai cast, including Xolo Mariduena, Mary Mouser, and Martin Kove. That's where we can help! Here's where you've seen these film-TV actors before.
William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence)
As Johnny Lawrence, a down-and-out martial artist who was once the top student at Cobra Kai dojo before his life spiraled after a devastating tournament defeat, William Zabka reprises his most famous role as Johnny Lawrence from The Karate Kid to play the protagonist of Netflix's Cobra Kai. He's also an executive producer on the series and voiced the character in the video game, Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues. Outside of this starring role, Zabka was Oscar-nominated for his 2003 short film, Most. Additionally, Zabka played recurring roles in CBS's How I Met Your Mother and The Equalizer. His other TV credits include ER, The Greatest American Hero, Psych, and Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street. Also, Zabka starred in Python and Python II.
Additionally, William Zabka is recognized for his supporting turn as Chas Osbourne in the 80s comedy, Back to School. He also appeared in Just One of the Guys, National Lampoon's European Vacation, A Tiger's Tale, Hot Tub Time Machine, Where Hope Grows, Cake: A Wedding Story, The Dog Who Saved Summer, and The Man in the Silo.
Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso)
In the role of Daniel LaRusso, a world-recognized karate champion who eventually settled down in the valley and opened his own successful auto-dealership before Johnny Lawrence's reemergence compels him to teach Miyagi-Do Karate, Ralph Macchio was the protagonist of The Karate Kid movies and plays a secondary lead in Cobra Kai, where he also serves as a co-executive producer. He also lends his voice to Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues. Away from this franchise, Macchio is known for playing Johnny Cade in The Outsiders and Bill Gambini in My Cousin Vinny. He also starred in Crossroads and Beer League. The actor's other film credits include Hitchcock, Teachers, Up the Academy, Distant Thunder, Naked in New York, Can't Be Heaven, and A Little Game. Furthermore, Macchio can be seen in USA Network's Psych: The Movie.
Outside of film, Ralph Macchio played recurring roles in ABC's Ugly Betty, HBO's The Deuce, and ABC's Eight Is Enough. Additionally, the movie-television actor can be seen in Entourage, Law & Order, How I Met Your Mother, Kevin Can Wait, and The Outer Limits. Furthermore, Macchio was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars Season 12.
Courtney Henggeler (Amanda LaRusso)
Playing the part of Amanda LaRusso, Daniel's wife, Courtney Henggeler is the female lead in Netflix's Cobra Kai. Away from this popular streaming series, Henggeler is recognized for her roles as Missy Cooper in CBS's The Big Bang Theory and Claudia in CBS's Mom. Her other notable TV credits include NCIS, House, Criminal Minds, Melissa & Joey, Bones, Jane the Virgin, Franklin & Bash, Working Class, Into the Dark, and Fuller House. In film, Henggeler appears in Friends with Benefits, Nobody's Fool (2018), Feed, Kristin's Christmas Past, Do Not Reply, Fixed, Beach Pillows, and The Bog Creatures.
Xolo Mariduena (Miguel Diaz)
As Miguel Diaz, Johnny Lawrence's bullied teenage neighbor who convinces the washed-up former karate champion to train him, Xolo Mariduena plays a determined young athlete in Netflix's Cobra Kai. Away from this series, Mariduena played Victor Graham on NBC's Parenthood. Additionally, Mariduena lends his voice to Cartoon Network's Victor and Valentino, Netflix's Fast & Furious Spy Racers, and Peacock's Cleopatra in Space. His other television credits include Twin Peaks, Rush Hour, Mack & Moxy, and Major Crimes. Additionally, Mariduena can be seen in Dealin' With Idiots.
Tanner Buchanan (Robby Keene)
In the role of Robby Keene, Johnny Lawrence's estranged son who becomes one of Daniel LaRusso's best students, Tanner Buchanan plays a primary part in Cobra Kai. Away from this series, Buchanan was seen as Leo Kirkman in ABC/Netflix's Designated Survivor. He also played recurring roles in Girl Meets World, Game Shakers, and The Fosters. His other TV credits include Modern Family, Grey's Anatomy, and Fuller House.
Outside of TV, Tanner Buchanan appeared in The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards, Chance, Sinister Seduction, Max Winslow and the House of Secrets, and Jake Squared. Next, the young actor stars in Netflix's He's All That, Painted Beauty, and The Hyperions.
Mary Mouser (Samantha LaRusso)
Playing the part of Samantha LaRusso, Daniel and Amanda's daughter, Mary Mouser is a conflicted character in Netflix's Cobra Kai. Previously, Mouser was seen as Lacey Fleming in ABC's Body of Proof. The actress also played Karen Grant in ABC's Scandal. Additionally, Mouser had a recurring role as Kelly Gibbs on NCIS. Her other TV credits include Freakish, The Fosters, Maron, Scrubs, The King of Queens, Monk, and Criminal Minds. Recently, Mouser provided a supporting turn in HBO's acclaimed Room 104.
Additionally, in film, Mary Mouser starred as Eloise in Eloise in Hollywood. She can also be seen in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, All Kids Count, LA Blues, Mr. Fix It, and Gates of Darkness. Furthermore, as a voice actress, Mouser is heard in Son of the Mask, The Hole, Delgo, Dragon Hunters, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and Tarzan 2: The Legend Begins. Outside of movies and TV, meanwhile, the actress also lent her voice to the video game, The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest.
Jacob Bertrand (Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz)
As Eli "Hawk" Moskowitz, a bullied kid who gains confidence through the Cobra Kai dojo, only to be corrupted by its ruthless "no mercy" mentality, Jacob Bertrand takes a dark turn in Netflix's Cobra Kai. He also voiced this character in the video game, Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues. Before his time in this streaming series, Bertrand played the title character in Disney XD's Kirby Buckets. He also starred in Disney Channel's The Swap alongside Peyton List. Additionally, Bertrand had main roles in Nickelodeon's Marvin Marvin and Bubble Guppies. The former child actor's other TV credits include The Middle, Community, Parks and Recreation, iCarly, and Parenthood.
Outside of TV, Jacob Bertrand appeared in The Gambler, Duress, Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, Water For Elephants, The Smurfs, and Ready Player One. Furthermore, Bertrand is seen in Tooth Fairy 2, Little Fockers, and How Do You Know. He's also heard in ParaNorman, Rise of the Guardians, and Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure. Away from acting, Bertrand wrote and helmed 2019's short film, Jud's Decision.
Martin Kove (John Kreese)
In the role of John Kreese, an unhinged and vengeful sensei who returns to the valley when Johnny reopens Cobra Kai, Martin Kove played a vicious antagonist in The Karate Kid movies and this follow-up series. Away from this franchise, Kove is best known for playing Nero the Hero in Death Race 2000. His other notable film credits include Rambo: First Blood Part II, Seven (1979), The Last House on the Left (1972), The Extendables, VFW, and Once Upon a Time ... In Hollywood. Additionally, Kove is seen in White Line Fever, Wyatt Earp, Capone (1975), Cops and Robbers, and The Wild Party.
Additionally, on television, Martin Kove was a series regular on CBS's Cagney & Lacey. His other notable TV credits include The Twilight Zone, Murder She Wrote, CHiPs, The Incredible Hulk, Criminal Minds, and The Goldbergs. He can also be seen in Gunsmoke, Walker Texas Ranger, Tosh.0, and The Rockford Files. Most recently, Kove starred in 3 Tickets to Paradise. Furthermore, he'll appear in Dante's Hell and The Highwaymen.
Gianni DeCenzo (Demetri)
Playing the part of Demetri, a bullied young man who joins Miyagi Do Karate to stand up for himself, Gianni DeCenzo plays a hard-fighting young character in Netflix's Cobra Kai. He also voiced this role in the video game, Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues. Prior to his work in this streaming series, DeCenzo played recurring roles in Disney Channel's Coop and Cami Ask the World and Nickelodeon's 100 Things To Do Before High School. Furthermore, the actor guest-starred in The Middle, The League, Eagleheart, Back in the Game, Liv and Maddie: Cali Style, Dark Wall, and Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street. Outside of TV, DeCenzo played a minor role in 37.
Peyton List (Tory Nichols)
As Tory Nichols, a troubled teen who joins Cobra Kai Dojo and quickly becomes more aggressive and vengeful throughout her intensive martial arts training, Peyton List plays a corrupted student in this Netflix series. Outside of this show, List is best known for her role as Emma Ross in Disney Channel's Jessie. She later reprised this part in the spin-off, Bunk'd. Additionally, List plays Laina Michaels in The Thinning and The Thinning: New World Order. The TV actress had a main role in Hulu's Light as a Feather. Furthermore, List starred in Disney Channel's The Swap alongside Jacob Bertrand. The child star's other TV credits include K.C. Undercover, Austin & Ally, and Gossip Girl.
Outside of television, Peyton List played Holly Hills in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules and Dog Days. She also appeared in 27 Dresses, Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Something Borrowed, The Outcasts, Remember Me, and Spider-Man 2. Most recently, the actress was seen in Valley Girl, Swimming for Gold, Paper Spiders, and Netflix's Hubie Halloween. Next, List appears in Shivers and Aileen Wuornos: American Boogeywoman.
Vanessa Rubio (Carmen Diaz)
In the role of Carmen Diaz, Miguel's mother and Johnny Lawrence's love interest, Vanessa Rubio played a recurring role in the first three seasons of Cobra Kai. In Season 4, she'll become a lead. Outside of this popular series, Rubio had a supporting turn in How to Be Single. Additionally, Rubio had a recurring role as Nagaina in Netflix's The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Her other television credits include Dolly Parton's Heartstrings, Master of None, Deception, 20-Something, and Gone. Most recently, Rubio played Gina in the newest season of Netflix's Bonding. Furthermore, her other film credits include Blood Bound, The Hudson Tribes, The Girl Is In Trouble, and The Strike.
Paul Walter Hauser (Raymond “Stingray”)
Playing the part of Raymond, i.e. "Stingray," a new member of Cobra Kai dojo, Paul Walter Hauser was a secondary character in this former YouTube series' second season. Most notably, Hauser took on the title role in Clint Eastwood's Richard Jewell, which raised his profile. He also appeared in I, Tonya, Late Night, Super Troopers 2, BlacKkKlansman, Beats, Virginia, and iSteve. Last year, Hauser was seen in Songbird, Adam, and Netflix's Da 5 Bloods. This year, the actor provided supporting turns in Cruella, Silk Road, and Eat Wheaties! Next, he'll be seen in Queenpins and Delia's Gone.
On television, Paul Walter Hauser appeared in Reno 911!, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Night Shift, Key & Peele, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Community, Kingdom, and Superstore. Outside of acting, Hauser wrote, produced, and directed some short films, including 2017's Kiss Me When I'm Down, 2018's Messy, and 2019's Heirloom.
Stream Cobra Kai on Netflix.
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Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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