William Zabka made his The Karate Kid debut as Johnny Lawrence — Daniel LaRusso’s high school bully. Johnny despised Daniel the moment they met at the beach party after Daniel hit on Johnny’s ex-girlfriend Ali. Johnny had some anger issues that ultimately stemmed from the lack of a positive male father figure in his life. The Karate Kid The films didn’t address Johnny’s biological father too much, but viewers later found out his stepfather was incredibly abusive to him.
If his home life wasn’t rough enough, Johnny also faced abuse from his sensei John Kreese — the true villain of The Karate Kid, After the release of Cobra Kai, viewers were still clueless about the identity of Johnny’s biological father. A theory later spread on Reddit that Kreese could be Johnny’s biological father. Arguably, they have the same first name, but how much evidence could there be other than that?
Johnny’s mother, Laura Lawrence, married the wealthy Sid Weinberg after Johnny’s father abandoned them. A Cobra Kai flashback revealed Johnny was distraught when his mother announced their engagement and ran to play with toys in a box of his father’s discarded belongings. One of those toys was an army soldier, which could hint at Kreese’s military service in the Vietnam War. Johnny faced both emotional and physical abuse from his stepfather and joined the Cobra Kai dojo to learn self-defense.
After Johnny joined Cobra Kai, Kreese immediately took him under his wing, and Johnny became his star pupil. However, Kreese showed no mercy when Johnny lost the All-Valley Tournament to Daniel’s possibly illegal crane kick in the first The Karate Kid. Johnny expressed he was fine with the loss, but Kreese strangled him before Mr. Miyagi could jump in and save Johnny. Johnny and his karate friends left Cobra Kai due to Kreese’s cruel behavior but later reunited in Cobra Kai.
Due to the disappointment of three male role models/father figures, one would think Johnny would have learned from their mistakes and become a great father to his son Robby. However, he failed to be there for him in the beginning and instead acted as a stand-in parent for his neighbor Miguel — who was also clueless about the mystery surrounding his biological father. Daniel later took in Robby and even offered him a job at his car dealership but was ultimately betrayed by him.
Since Johnny’s mother passed away around 15 years before cobra Kai Season 1, Johnny was unable to ask for more information about his biological father. Johnny and his stepfather still have a strained relationship to this day, but he may know some details about his identity. In Cobra Kai Season 3, Johnny went to his stepfather to ask for money to help fund Miguel’s surgery after the chaotic high school brawl. Sid responded Johnny was a loser just like his father, so he must know his name.
Johnny was born in 1967, just before Kreese went off to fight in Vietnam. The Reddit theory also added to the mystery when comments discussed Betsy, Kreese’s girlfriend who died in a car crash, was actually Johnny’s biological mother, and Johnny was sent away to live with a relative after Betsy’s death. Speculation continued when some suggested the car crash was a cover-up, and Betsy actually died in childbirth and kept her pregnancy secret from Kreese.
It would be a huge reveal to announce the identity of Johnny’s biological father after so many years of uncertainty. It would be an even bigger shock if it turned out to be Kreese. If viewers don’t find out who Johnny’s father is in Season 5, which will release on September 9, they will surely find out about Miguel’s.