‘Cobra Kai’ Star Xolo Maridueña Worried Season 3 Would Be a Bummer — How the First Episode Changed Everything

Cobra Kai premiered its third season a week early. Karate Kid fans rung in the new year by binging the new season. Prior to the holiday break, Xolo Maridueña spoke with reporters via Zoom about Miguel’s role in the new season. Season 2 left a big question mark hanging over Miguel, and he had some questions as well. 

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for the first episode of Cobra Kai Season 3.]

Xolo Maridueña as Miguel
Xolo Maridueña | Curtis Bonds/Netflix

Maridueña expressed his concerns about the third season, but they were quickly resolved. Cobra Kai Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix. 

Miguel and Johnny are conflicted in ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 3

Cobra Kai began when Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) reopened the dojo to teach Miguel Karate. After an unsportsmanlike victory at the All Valley Karate tournament, Johnny decided to teach his students the merits of mercy. That landed Miguel in the hospital when he showed Robby (Tanner Buchanan) mercy and Robby did not reciprocate. 

Cobra Kai Miguel in hospital
Xolo Maridueña | Netflix

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“I think just like any role model, Miguel instilled a lot of trust into Johnny with his word,” Maridueña said. “Having it backfire at the most crucial moment really is going to be a test on their relationship. Fortunately, I feel like they have been through enough already to move past it, but I don’t think it’s going to come without its challenges.”

Johnny tries to rush Miguel’s recovery, too. That exacerbates the conflict. 

Xolo Maridueña and William Zabka in Cobra Kai
L-R: Xolo Maridueña and William Zabka | Curtis Bonds/Netflix

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He wants more than anything to make Johnny proud. Because of that, one of the hardest decisions he made was showing mercy to Robby. Having him get kicked off a balcony for it, I think he will resent Johnny a little bit, just as anyone would. You’re the person I trust most and I did what you said and this still happened to me, so how am I supposed to trust what you say anymore? I think that’s going to be a question that’s asked in a bunch of different ways in season 3, but I hope it’s nothing that Miguel and Johnny can’t figure out.

Xolo Maridueña, Zoom roundtable, 12/ 11/2020

Xolo Maridueña’s worries about season 3

After the dramatic cliffhanger of Cobra Kai Season 2, Maridueña had his own reservations going into the third season. He was worried Miguel would be laid up the whole season. Even with his character in the hospital, the show found a way to let him have some action.

Xolo Maridueña in hospital
Xolo Maridueña and Vanessa Rubio | Netflix

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“Initially, I was very, very excited just because I got to do stunt work for the first episode for my dream sequence,” Maridueña said. “So that was super exciting because I guess one of the big downsides, I was like oh dang, I’m not going to be able to do stunts for a while. That’s going to be a bummer, but in that first episode, I got a chance to re-enact some of the All Valley tournament fights which was pretty fun and they put a new spin on it so I really enjoyed that.”

‘Cobra Kai’ didn’t leave Xolo Maridueña restless for too long 

Maridueña didn’t feel like he had to spend too much time in the hospital. Although Miguel is not yet released at the end of the season premiere, Cobra Kai was able to get all of his hospital scenes out of the way quickly. 

Cobra Kai: Miguel and Johnny
William Zabka (top) and Xolo Maridueña (bottom) | Curtis Bonds/Netflix

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After that, I feel like the rest of it went kind of quickly. I feel like up until maybe the fifth episode, it feels like a lot of my scenes were filmed kind of in the same chunk. So it really didn’t feel like that much time had passed by. When you see it on screen you’re like, ‘Oh crap, he’s in the hospital for a couple of episodes’ but I feel like having all of the scripts beforehand allowed us to take a big chunk of filming and just clump it together.  

Xolo Maridueña, Zoom roundtable, 12/11/2020