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Cobra Kai was a Karate Kid reunion for Martin Kove, William Zabka and Ralph Macchio. Cobra Kai Season 4 was a Karate Kid Part III reunion for Kove and Thomas Ian Griffith. The third film was a bittersweet experience for Kove, but he says the Cobra Kai storylines involving Terry Silver (Griffith) redeemed the experience. 

'Cobra Kai': Martin Kove Thomas Ian Griffith stand together on the sidelines of the tournament
L-R: Tanner Buchanan, Martin Kove, and Thomas Ian Griffith | Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix

Kove spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by phone on Aug. 16. He explained why he approved of the Terry Silver storyline on Cobra Kai, even though the character came out of a disappointing film. Cobra Kai Season 5 premieres Sept. 9 on Netflix and we’ll have more with Kove, the cast and creators here on Showbiz Cheat Sheet. 

‘Cobra Kai’ needed more than John Kreese, Martin Kove says

Originally, there was not supposed to be a Terry Silver in The Karate Kid Part III. Kove told /Film the original script had Kreese orchestrating the revenge plot against Daniel LaRusso (Macchio). But, Kove was stuck on the TV show Hard Time on Planet Earth so they invented Terry Silver. Kove wanted to be the lead villain in Karate Kid III himself but now he welcomed Silver onto Cobra Kai

‘Cobra Kai’: Martin Kove Wants to Show John Kreese’s Vulnerability

“Yeah, we needed something,” Kove told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “We did three seasons of the show and you couldn’t stand in front of the dojo any longer and say, ‘We’ve got to beat Miyagi-Do, we’ve got to beat Eagle Fang.’ After three seasons, you exhausted that concept of dojos against dojos. Once Johnny Lawrence violated Cobra Kai by teaching to be a bit more merciful than I did, it’s awful for him at the end of season 3 and you’ve got to go somewhere. So they team up and I need help and I call Terry.”

‘Cobra Kai’ made Terry Silver a foil to John Kreese

In Karate Kid III, Silver plots revenge on behalf of his Vietnam war buddy Kreese. In Cobra Kai season 4, Silver ultimately turned on Kreese, hoisting him by his own petard.  


‘Cobra Kai’: Martin Kove Wants to Show John Kreese’s Vulnerability

And I think you needed that element of another, I never think of myself as a beast, but you needed another beast to come in. You needed a real monster who could be as far more insincere and insensitive than John Kreese. And his focus is having five Cobra Kais in the valley, 5 Cobra Kais downtown, 5 Cobra Kais in Dallas and that’s not what it’s about. That’s like comparing McDonald’s to three hours of preparing shrimp scampi. It’s not the same. It’s going out and buying Burger King and sitting down to have Royo’s fine great Italian restaurant uptown Manhattan, sitting down and having a terrific meal there and watching the chef prepare it. It’s different.

Martin Kove, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 8/16/22

Necessity is the mother of invention

In 1989, Terry Silver solved the issue of Kove’s limited availability. Yet, it paid off handsomely on Cobra Kai

“Terry’s character unfortunately was needed,” Kove said. “That darkness, that superficiality was needed so that John Kreese and Ralph and Billy have something to function with, something to do something about, another entity of all the fear and violence far worse than whatever John created, whatever I created.”