'Cobra Kai': Martin Kove Went to Great Lengths to Hide John Kreese in Season 1

Cobra Kai fans know Martin Kove returned as Karate Kid sensei John Kreese. Season 1 viewers got a surprise in 2018. Kreese only showed up at the very end of the season finale to confront Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) in the dojo. Kove recalls the lengths the show went to to keep his appearance a secret.

Kove started his own podcast, Kicking It with the Koves, with his son Jesse and daughter Rachel. In the Feb. 3 episode, Kove discussed his return to the role of John Kreese in season 1 of Cobra Kai, including details on how they kept him a secret. Cobra Kai Season 5 is coming soon to Netflix. 

Martin Kove had to hide from the set of ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 1

Cobra Kai has filmed in Atlanta, Georgia for all five seasons. When Kove first went to Atlanta, they were filming the All-Valley Karate Tournament in which Johnny and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio)’s students face off. 

“They said, ‘You’re coming in on episode 10,’” Kove said on Kicking It with the Koves. “I believe that they were keeping everything under wraps. In fact, when I went there to shoot my episode 10, I had to hide. Because they were shooting the tournament scene there, and they didn’t want anyone to know that I would be, I was in the end beat at the end of that episode.”

Martin Kove got to know his hotel room very well

Kove recalled staying in his Atlanta hotel room because they just couldn’t risk having the John Kreese actor be seen. Earlier in the season, Johnny had said Kreese was dead.

“I had to hide in my hotel room and I was instructed to stay there for a couple days, not go out,” Kove said. “They said some kids might be walking in the mall or nearby the hotel and they could put two and two together because they had several hundred people there as extras. So anybody could’ve been around the hotel, seen me and then they put two and two together because there are so many avid fans around.”

‘Cobra Kai’ creators prepared the actor for John Kreese’s season 1 return

Kove was ready for this appearance all season. They secured his participation before they started filming Cobra Kai Season 1.

Billy had told me about this. So this would’ve been 3, 4 years ago. We were doing, I think it was an autograph show. And he told me about it. It was in September of that year. He said and they want you to come and join us but you’re not going to show up until the end of season 1 and they’ll tell you all about it. I got together with Josh [Heald], Hayden [Schossberg], and Jon [Hurwitz]. Everything I wanted to do with the character in the sense of vulnerability, background and flashbacks, they had already thought out, figured it all out way before I made my notes. They said just be patient, we’re going to bring you in and you’re going to set up season 2 by your presence and what you do. You show up in the dojo in episode 10, season 1.

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