Barrett Carnahan Almost Played Another ‘Cobra Kai’ Villain


Young John Kreese appears in “Cobra Kai” Season 3.

During the third season of “Cobra Kai,” Barrett Carnahan plays a younger version of the ruthless sensei John Kreese before he goes down a dark path. Prior to being cast as Young Kreese, the 28-year-old tried out for two other roles on the show.

Barrett Carnahan Revealed That He Almost Played Two Different Bullies on the Show  

During a January live stream, uploaded on the Cobra Kai Kid YouTube Channel, the actor revealed that he had auditioned to play the characters, Kyler (Joe Seo) and Brucks (Bo Mitchell). As “Cobra Kai” fans are aware, the characters are popular students at West Valley High School and bully Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) until he is taught karate by Johnny Lawrence (William “Billy” Zabka). 

“I had auditioned for ‘Cobra Kai’ twice before. Once for Kyler… way back in season 1. In 2017, I went in for an audition for Kyler and I got a callback and you know, being a d**** kind of comes I don’t want to say naturally but it does,” explained the 28-year-old.

He noted that while he “felt pretty good about” his audition, he “didn’t get it.” He then complimented Joe Seo’s portrayal of Kyler and stated that he “killed it.” The actor went on to say that “only a couple months later [he got] another [audition] for ‘Cobra Kai’” to play Brucks. He revealed that he auditioned with the scene where Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser) invites her friends to use her family’s pool when her parents are away.

“It was funny and I just went so over the top with it. And it was a blast. But then I got a call back for that again and I was like I don’t think I’m right for either of these so they ended up going to who they went to, you know, they crushed it,” recalled the actor. 

Carnahan went back to audition for Young Kreese in 2019. According to the actor, he met with the show’s creators and executive producers Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald, and Hayden Schlossberg following his callback. During that session, he performed the scene where Kreese’s superior officer chokes him while they are fighting. 

“I remember flexing my face and like making myself so red in the face so hard in front of them that I started to black out. And then I pulled back and I kind of like I stumbled there for a second and I saw stars. Waited for what felt like a whole minute and I delivered the second line and then the scene ended,” said the actor.

Carnahan Disclosed He Was Concerned About Playing Young Kreese 

 While speaking to Comic Book Resources in January, Carnahan revealed that he had a few concerns about playing Young Kreese. 

“So when I got the job, I was terrified because all I could think was, ‘What if [the fans] don’t like me? What if they don’t believe me as Kreese?’” disclosed the actor. 

He stated, however, that once “Cobra Kai” season 3 premiered on Netflix, he has “seen nothing but positivity and love for the young Kreese portrayal.”

“I just want to thank the fans for accepting me into the Miyagi-Verse with open arms. It’s been such a pleasure and I hope there’s more,” said the actor. 

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