‘Cobra Kai’ Season 5: How a ‘Karate Kid’ Character Connected Amanda to Original Films

Cobra Kai Season 5 introduced yet another character from the Karate Kid films. Longtime fan speculation about Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) finally paid off, but there was another. Amanda (Courtney Henggeler) visits her cousin, who is a familiar face two, and Cobra Kai creators Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg and Josh Healed revealed how they decided they’d be related.

[Warning: This article contains spoilers for Cobra Kai Season 5 episode 5, “Extreme Measures”.]

'Cobra Kai' Season 5: Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) offers Amanda LaRusso (Courtney Henggeler) a glass of wine
L-R: Thomas Ian Griffith and Courtney Henggeler | Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix

Hurwitz, Schlossberg and Heald spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Aug. 16. Here’s why they decided a certain Karate Kid Part III character was part of the family, and what it means for Cobra Kai. Season 5 is now on Netflix

Jessica Andrews is Amanda LaRusso’s cousin in ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 5

Robyn Lively played Jessica Andrews in The Karate Kid Part III. When she turns out to be the cousin Amanda is visiting, she also reveals that she introduced the spouses long before Cobra Kai began. Hurwitz said fans have long speculated that new characters were related to supporting characters from the Karate Kid movies. 

“There’s been a lot of fun over the years as everyone speculates whose dad is whose,” Hurwitz said. “Barnes is Tory’s dad or Kreese is Tory’s grandfather or Barnes is Miguel’s dad or Silver’s Miguel’s dad. There’s all of that and it’s one of our favorite weird things that happens in fandoms and it’s beautiful in this fandom. A lot of them are just crazy. They don’t make any sense. There’s no way that it could happen.”

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However, as longtime fans of The Karate Kid Part III, the Cobra Kai creators had wanted to find a way to bring Jessica back like they did Elisabeth Shue as Ali or Tamlyn Tomita as Kumiko.

“We’ve been thinking about Jessica for a while and when we got back to it, it’s like Jessica and Daniel never really had a romantic relationship,” Hurwitz said. “Through Terry’s manipulation, Daniel goes a little too far and alienates Amanda. We had this idea of her leaving town and what better place for her to go than back home and reconnect with her cousin who knows Daniel and was there for the incident and was kicked in the stomach by Mike Barnes or whoever attacked her in that group? It just made sense to us. It felt like this is a conceivable thing that happened.” 

‘The Karate Kid Part III’ now inextricably connects Daniel and Amanda

What this decision does is solidify that The Karate Kid Part III was more important to Daniel’s future than originally believed. For the past four seasons of Cobra Kai, Daniel is married to the woman his Karate Kid III co-star introduced him to. Now you really can’t remove Karate Kid III if you want to keep Amanda in Daniel’s life. 

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“One of the things we learned early on is you think about what the backstories are for certain characters and relationships,” Schlossberg said. “You think well, how did Daniel and Amanda meet? But if it doesn’t come up on the show, it’s sometimes like well, there’s nothing that’s officially canon until you really understand the characters more season after season. It’s one of those things where hey, you know what? We still haven’t answered that question yet. It made a lot of sense.” 

There may be more of this story after ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 5

Jessica alludes to the fact that she introduced Amanda to Daniel when Amanda moved to L.A. There could be a lot more to that story. How long after Karate Kid III was this? Was this after Daniel went to college? Had he started LaRusso Motors yet? What exactly did Jessica tell Amanda about him? Schlossberg confirmed they could still reveal those details in future seasons. 

“Maybe you’ll find out in the future,” Schlossberg said. “There is obviously a story. You get the sense that she came out to L.A. and was looking for a good guy, and Jessica knew one.”

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