Why Barrett Carnahan Had Concerns About Being Cast as Young Kreese

Barrett Carnahan as Young Kreese

YouTube Barrett Carnahan portrays a younger John Kreese in Cobra Kai Season 3.

During the third season of “Cobra Kai,” fans were able to get a better understanding of the ruthless sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove). Since the character’s introduction in the 1984 film “The Karate Kid,” he has been viewed as an intimidating, manipulative figure. However, through a series of flashbacks, it was revealed that the martial artist did not always have an aggressive demeanor. In fact, when Kreese was younger, he was a shy busboy, who was bullied by a varsity athlete, played by Martin Kove’s son Jesse. It was not until he loses his beloved girlfriend Betsy (Emily Marie Palmer) and experiences numerous traumas while serving in the Vietnam war, does he start exhibiting violent behavior. 


Barrett Carnahan Revealed That He Was Worried About How Fans Would Feel About Young Kreese

The actor who plays Young Kreese, Barrett Carnahan, disclosed that he had some concerns about joining the “Cobra Kai” cast. During a January interview with Comic Book Resources, he stated he was worried about how fans of the “Karate Kid” franchise would feel about him stepping into the shoes of the iconic villain. 

“[T]his was kind of a scary thing and I know how passionate this fanbase is. So when I got the job, I was terrified because all I could think was, ‘What if they don’t like me? What if they don’t believe me as Kreese?'” explained the actor. 

He quickly clarified that his portrayal of Kreese has been well-received by fans. 

“[E]ver since the show has dropped, I’ve seen nothing but positivity and love for the young Kreese portrayal and I just want to thank the fans for accepting me into the Miyagi-Verse with open arms,” stated Carnahan.  


Barrett Carnahan Was Also Concerned That Jesse Kove Would Be Upset by His Performance

During a joint interview with Jesse Kove on the “Popternative” podcast, Carnahan shared similar information. 

“As day by day went by I got more and more nervous because I know how hardcore the fan base is and how much you guys love this character,” stated the actor. “So it was overwhelming and really really nerve wracking at times but luckily everyone kind of had faith in what I was doing and luckily I delivered something that fans really enjoyed so I’m thrilled.”

Carnahan also revealed that he was worried Jesse would be upset by his portrayal of Young Kreese, as his father had originated the role. The 28-year-old stated that he “found out the night before” his first day on set that he was going to be in a scene with him.

“I’m like great can’t wait to meet this guy who, you know, I’m playing the younger version of his father. I hope he’s not p***ed off about that,” said Carnahan.

The actor went on to say that they ended up having “a great time” together.

“Jesse was so excited about it. Both of us were so excited to be involved,” stated Carnahan.

During the interview, Kove also discussed spending time with Carnahan during the show’s production. He said that while they were shooting scenes together, they kept commenting on “how surreal the whole experience was” being able to work on “Cobra Kai.”

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