In the acclaimed series “Cobra Kai,” Xolo Maridueña plays Miguel Diaz. During the first season, the teenager moves to Reseda, California, and is immediately bullied by popular students at West Valley High School. To combat the harassment, he becomes a student at the Cobra Kai dojo, owned by Johnny Lawrence (William “Billy” Zabka). Miguel and his sensei develop a close relationship throughout the show. For this reason, he is wary of Johnny’s rival Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio). The feeling is mutual, as Daniel does not trust any Cobra Kai student. However, in the third season, the Miyagi-Do Karate owner catches Miguel kissing his daughter, Samantha (Mary Mouser), and decides to have a heart-to-heart with him while sitting in Mr. Miyagi’s (Pat Morita) yellow 1947 Ford.
Xolo Maridueña Discussed Filming With Ralph Macchio in Season 3
During the Paley Front Row panel, alongside the “Cobra Kai” cast and creators, Xolo Maridueña discussed being able to film with Ralph Macchio in the third season.
“In season 3, like getting to work in the car and stuff like that, you know, that I mean was a long time coming. It was funny to never get to work with Ralph ever until the third season so it was fun to see the flip sides and how they work on and off screen,” said the actor.
While speaking on the panel, Maridueña also talked about sharing most of his scenes with William “Billy” Zabka. He explained that he had a particular fondness for the heartfelt moment between Miguel and Johnny in season 2, episode 3. In the scene, Johnny reveals to his martial arts student that he has been an absentee father to his son, Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan).
“I’m on the record as saying that the season 2 scene where Johnny is explaining to Miguel in the burger shop like, ‘hey I messed up with my son and I’m trying to do right by you’ is like one of my favorite scenes in the show and it felt so great to film that scene,” said the 19-year-old.
Maridueña also commented on the fact that he has strong chemistry with Zabka.
“I think getting to film with Billy even from the chemistry reads was so so different than any other actor I’ve ever worked with and I think the chemistry on screen is similar to that off screen it really is — it really is a pleasure,” said the actor.
Xolo Maridueña Also Spoke About William Zabka in a January Interview
While speaking to Entertainment Weekly in January, Maridueña complimented Zabka’s portrayal of Johnny. He explained that “Johnny really is a character who is stuck in his ways” and is not the most politically correct. He asserted, however, that the actor “is the complete opposite of” the character and “is the sweetest man [he has] ever met.”
“I think it’s really a testament to how good of an actor he is. Like even though he’s a character who is stuck in the ‘80s and he says somethings sometimes where you’re like, ‘oh like you can’t say that today’ on the same — on the flip side he really does perform really well. Like he gives a great performance [in season 3] and he has all the right moments of, you know, emotion. He really is a great actor. I think it’s so cool to see him getting the recognition that he deserves,” stated Maridueña.