Cobra Kai season 3: release date, trailer and season 2's ending explained

Cobra Kai season 3
(Image credit: Netflix)

Cobra Kai season 3 is officially coming to Netflix in January 2021 – and filming is already finished, now with some first look images which you can see below. In fact, production on the third season had concluded before Netflix even bought the rights to the Karate Kid sequel series, and now season 4 is confirmed to be in the works.

Originally beginning life on YouTube Red as a premium series, Netflix acquired the rights to the show and automatically transformed it from a cult hit into a worldwide success. Cobra Kai season 3, then, is highly anticipated – especially after season 2's cliffhanger ending. Spoilers for season 2 follow, as we talk you through everything we know about the series' return.

At the end of Cobra Kai season 2, most of the characters are left in a pretty dark place. Kreese became the villain we all expected him to be after he revealed he'd been swindling the Cobra Kai gym and its students, and Johnny Lawrence's star prodigy, Miguel, is in intensive care after a brawl at the high school went awry. What's more, LaRusso's obsession with the gym has caused a rift between him and his wife, and his daughter, Sam, is also in the hospital after the Cobra Kai / Miyagi-Do scrap. Still, the newest Cobra Kai season 3 teaser trailer suggests Miguel has survived, at least.

Cobra Kai's success on Netflix is no surprise – affection for the Karate Kid movies is evergreen, and the subject matter and types of characters just can't be found anywhere else. Cobra Kai is about middle-aged men coming to terms with their damaged pasts and how it affects those around them... and two rival dojos full of rambunctious teenagers kicking lumps out of each other. It's silly in places, but incredibly entertaining. 

So, if you've been there since the beginning, or you've just jumped on board the Karate Kid follow-up, here's everything we know so far about Cobra Kai season 3.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Bojack Horseman with more face-kicking. Cobra Kai is a follow-up to Karate Kid, furthering that franchise's narrative and blending it with middle-aged melancholia as the main characters come to terms with where they're at. 
  • Where can I watch it? The first two seasons are available right now on Netflix, and the third will be available there too. 
  • When can I watch it? January 8, 2021.  

Cobra Kai season 3 release date confirmed: January 2021

See more

Given the success of the sequel series, another batch of episodes was pretty much guaranteed. Now Cobra Kai season 3 has a release date: January 8, 2021. William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence) broke the news on Twitter, and what's more, revealed that season 4 is "officially in training". In other words, if you love all things karate, you're in for plenty more inter-dojo bashing on Netflix yet.

Cobra Kai season 3: first look images

Feast your eyes on the first official images for Cobra Kai season 3 above. In them we can see Robby in what looks like a juvenile facility, and Miguel, still very much injured after that horrific fall in the previous season. We also get a sneak peek at Kreese as he starts to bend the students of Cobra Kai to his violent will.

Cobra Kai season 3 trailers: everything released so far

We already have a Cobra Kai season 3 trailer, but expect the main one about a month before release. We also have a newer teaser in the tweet above announcing the season 3 launch date. Let's just say if you haven't got round to watching season 2 yet, maybe give that one a miss until you have: the headline is that we see Miguel surviving the injuries he sustained in the high school brawl, but we still don't know if he'll fully recover. 

Netflix previously released the trailer below, cut together from old footage:

So, Daniel is off to Okinawa, a place he last visited in The Karate Kid II. This opens the door for the return of The Karate Kid II characters like Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) and Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita). Chozen was Daniel's enemy in Okinawa, while Kumiko was his love interest. Questions persist, though: will Johnny and Miguel go to Okinawa too? What secrets did Mr Miyagi keep from LaRusso? 

As we find out more about the story of Cobra Kai season 3, we'll add it here. For now, Netflix is keeping a lot of information about season 3 close to its chest. 

Cobra Kai season 3 cast: who we expect to return

With the teaser Zabka shared along with season 3 release date reveal, we now have a better idea of the returning cast. They are:

  • Daniel LaRusso: Ralph Macchio
  • Johnny Lawrence: William Zabka
  • Miguel: Xolo Maridueña
  • Amanda LaRusso: Courtney Henggeler
  • Samantha LaRusso: Mary Mouser
  • Robby Keene: Tanner Buchanan
  • Moon: Hannah Kepple
  • Hawk: Jacob Bertrand
  • John Kreese: Martin Cove

There are still story threads hanging around for a few characters you should expect to make a return, although we're not a hundred percent certain they're going to be making an appearance just yet.

There's Robby Keene, Johnny's son, for one. He's spent the last two seasons training under Daniel LaRusso. After he was responsible for the fall that put Miguel on life-support, he fled for the hills.

There's also John Kreese, who is currently in charge of the titular Cobra Kai dojo after stealing it in the shocking season 2 finale. He's definitely cruising for a bruising at this point, and it wouldn't be a satisfying season 3 if he didn't get at least some form of comeuppance. 

Then, there's Miguel's mother Carmen Diaz (Vanessa Rubio) who was also, briefly, Johnny's love interest towards the end of season 2. Diaz represents a happier life and a path towards normality, so it'd be great to see her return here. Season 2 ended with Johnny missing a Facebook friend request from high school girlfriend and Karate Kid character Ali Mills (played by Elisabeth Shue in the original film), which could mean we'll have some sort of love triangle on our hands in the new series. 

For now though, much of this is wishful thinking. You can put all of these potential returning characters on the 'maybe' pile, since Netflix is keeping quiet about who might be reappearing for the time being. 

Jake Tucker
Editor in chief, TechRadar Gaming

Jake Tucker is the editor in chief of TechRadar Gaming and has worked at sites like NME, MCV, Trusted Reviews and many more. He collects vinyl, likes first-person shooters and turn-based tactics titles, but hates writing bios. Jake currently lives in London, and is bouncing around the city trying to eat at all of the nice restaurants.