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Sean Kanan’s Former Bad Boy of Karate Means Business in Cobra Kai Season 6


  • It’s official: Sean Kanan returns as karate’s former “Bad Boy” Mike Barnes in
    Cobra Kai
    Season 6.
  • Fans pointed out a blurry image of what appeared to be Mike Barnes behind Demitri in the official trailer for
    Cobra Kai
    Season 6: Part 1, which dropped on July 1, and a brand-new clip confirms the return of actor Sean Kanan.
  • Barnes to train Miyagi-Do students for the Sekai Taikai competition.

It’s Mike Barnes’ way or the highway in the latest footage from Cobra Kai Season 6: Part 1. Once the official trailer for the Netflix series dropped on July 1, fans started noticing a blurry image of what appeared to be karate’s former “Bad Boy,” aka Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan), at the 21-second mark, who was situated in the background behind Demitri (Gianni DeCenzo). Well, it’s now been confirmed that Kanan will reprise the role in the upcoming swan song of the immensely popular streaming series’ ensemble piece led by Ralph Macchio and William Zabka.

In the aforementioned footage (below), Barnes is helping train and prepare the Miyagi-Do students for the upcoming Sekai Taikai tournament as Daniel LaRusso (Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (Zabka) observe. Kanan said of Barnes’ return and his impressive speech to his new karate students in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly:

“Barnes makes it very clear that this is going to be a baptism by fire for whoever is strong enough to make it through the tests that he sets up.
He’s got some out-of-the-box thinking.
The biggest challenge of that entire speech was everybody getting on the same page about how to pronounce Sekai Taikai [laughs].
We all had to go, ‘Okay, how do you actually say this? I was told it was Seh-kai Tie-kai.
That was the most difficult line to remember.”

Kanan first appeared in The Karate Kid Part III (1989) 35 years ago this summer. The third entry in The Karate Kid saga dropped during the vaunted Summer of Sequels, which featured a slew of follow-up titles, including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Ghostbusters II, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child and Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, among many others.

Cobra Kai Showrunners Told Sean Kanan: ‘We’d Love to See Barnes Again’

The exciting Mike Barnes sighting in the official trailer for Cobra Kai Season 6: Part 1 has been officially confirmed, and actor Sean Kanan reveals that he stayed in touch with the Netflix series’ showrunners after reprising the role in Season 5. And Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald and Hayden Schlossberg knew they wanted to bring the former “Bad Boy” back for the show’s swan song. Kanan said in the same interview with EW:

“They kept saying,
‘We’re working on the new script.
We’d love to see Barnes again.’
When I would do interviews and things like that,
I kept saying, ‘Who better to train these kids than Mike Barnes, who was a national champion?’
I was doing my best to plant the seed,
and it came to fruition.”

In The Karate Kid Part III, tournament terror and ringer Mike Barnes, who possesses Mike Tyson-esque strength, is recruited by Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) to fight and defeat Daniel LaRusso (Macchio) in the All Valley Tournament as part of a plan to get revenge on the titular Karate Kid and his mentor, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), for what they did to John Kreese (Martin Kove). But Barnes’ character is redeemed in Season 5 of Cobra Kai. And now the “Bad Boy” is back to whip the Miyagi-Do students into shape for the coming Sekai Taikai competition.


Cobra Kai Showrunners Talk Future Beyond Season 6: ‘We Have a Gazillion Ideas’

Cobra Kai Season 6 may mark the end for the Netflix streaming series, but co-creators Josh Heald and Jon Hurwitz are looking to the future.

While it’s been revealed by co-showrunner Josh Heald that Karate Kid character(s) who haven’t shown up in the series yet will appear in Season 6, the Miyagi-Do students are going to have their hands full learning from Mike Barnes. And as the former “Bad Boy” reveals in that exclusive clip (below), it’s his way or the highway.

Cobra Kai Season 6: Part 1 drops Thursday, July 18 exclusively on Netflix. And fans can check out the brand-new clip from Cobra Kai Season 6, which features Mike Barnes’ return, courtesy of the official X, formerly Twitter, account of Entertainment Weekly right now.

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