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‘Cobra Kai’ Star On Kenny’s Transformation & His Season 6 Hopes – Hollywood Life

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Cobra Kai season 5 ended with Terry Silver finally getting his karma, but what does this mean for the Cobra Kai dojo? What about Kenny, the teen Silver took under his wing and mentored? After the epic season 5 finale, Kenny Payne is at a crossroads.

Cobra Kai breakout Dallas Dupree Young spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about the highs and lows for Kenny in season 5. From Silver’s “gut-wrenching” betrayal to taking on Hawk on the mat, there are so many layers to peel back on Kenny. The young actor also looked ahead to a possible season 6 and his hope to explore more of Kenny’s home life and a face-off with Anthony LaRusso.

Dallas Dupree Young as Kenny in ‘Cobra Kai.’ (Netflix)

After the truth is revealed about Terry Silver, Kenny is the first one to take off his shirt and throw it at Silver. How do you think Kenny is going to handle this? This is quite the betrayal and a shock for him.
Dallas Dupree Young: I personally believe that Kenny is going to struggle for a minute on. You know, just the feeling that his mentor and his friend really betrayed him. And the way that he did it, too. He cheated at the All Valley. Kenny really felt like his team won, like he finally won at something… I think he’s going to feel that heartbreak for a minute. You saw that in the last scene with Robby, [he said], “I need you to give me a second.” So I think it’s going to take some time to adjust. But in the end, I think he’ll come back to karate and have a new light and a new perspective on life. But I think that scene with Terry Silver was heartbreaking and gut-wrenching for him.

Kenny’s the one that throws the first punch with the kids. That is quite an evolution from the first time we met Kenny. Do you think that moment really solidified him as a leader of whatever sort of pack he finds next?
Dallas Dupree Young: I feel as though that moment really did solidify his spot as a leader. It showed that he was not going to take anybody’s crap. Honestly, he was ready to get into the action and fight the biggest guy, the All Valley champion, in Miguel. I remember seeing the script that day and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m throwing the first punch. I’m so excited for that.” And then it came out great on camera, so I was just really grateful just to see that. It’s really cool just to see my evolution grow as Kenny.

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How do you think Kenny, given what he knows now, views Robby? There was a lot of anger there.
Dallas Dupree Young: There is definitely a lot of anger. There’s a lot of resentment. But at the same time, he’s feeling a little more compassion for Robby, and he’s listening a little bit more to what Robby is saying. Throughout the entire season, he did not want to hear anything that Robby said just because he felt as though Robby betrayed him as well. I feel as though he listened to him a little bit, even though he wasn’t ready to show it to Robby. I think we may be able to see that and grow upon that in later seasons.

I feel like Kenny is going to go home and start doing that math meme and trying to figure out, okay, who can I trust? Who can I be allies with? This kind of turns his whole world upside down.
Dallas Dupree Young: It definitely turned his whole world upside down. At this point in season 5 episode 10, Kenny doesn’t know who to trust. He doesn’t know who to be friends with. He doesn’t know who to love. I mean, Kenny is struggling to figure out who his people are now, and I think that’s going to be really exciting to see in later seasons.

Dallas Dupree Young
Kenny and Miguel come face-to-face. (Netflix)

I was going to touch on Anthony. Obviously, they [Anthony and Kenny] have a long history. Both sides definitely have done things that maybe have hindered them from working things out. Do you view that dynamic as something like Tory and Sam or Robby and Miguel where eventually they could see eye to eye? Or do you think we’re still in it for the long haul that these two can’t make it work?
Dallas Dupree Young: Me personally, I think there will be a time where they see eye to eye and they respect each other. But for now, I think they’re just going to draw it out, honestly. There’s going to be a rivalry and a long-life feud between the two, so I’m interested to see what happens between their relationship.

In episode 8, when they are competing for the Sekai Takai, that silver bullet was dirty. Were you surprised that Kenny went that far knowing what it could do?
Dallas Dupree Young: I remember reading the script, and I was really paying attention to the silver bullet and everything that was happening between the scene between Terry Silver and Kenny. Going into that fight against Hawk, I really was not expecting him to go that far. Honestly, I wasn’t really sure that he was going to win the fight in the beginning. The way he won it, I was a little unsure about it. But in the end, Kenny did win. I was really hype, but I was definitely shocked to see that Kenny went that far, especially seeing the kid who he was in season 4. He’s completely changed his mindset.

Do you think there’s a possibility that he would join Daniel and Johnny, or could he find his way back to Cobra Kai? I mean, Kreese is out of jail.
Dallas Dupree Young: I think there’s always a possibility that he can go to Daniel and Johnny’s dojo just because of the fact that he doesn’t have a dojo at the moment. Although there are so many different dojos in the valley. They are just the ones that are very popular in the valley. I think there is always a chance that he could go to Miyagi-do, but Kenny has that Cobra Kai mentality. He has the Cobra Kai mindset. If he has the opportunity to go back to Cobra Kai, I think he will go at some point. But we’ll see what happens in the later seasons.

Season 6 hasn’t been greenlit yet, but is there anything you would like to maybe touch upon more of with Kenny that we haven’t gotten to in the past two seasons? Maybe a romance? 
Dallas Dupree Young: There are two things that I would love to see in future seasons. I would love to see the relationship between Kenny and Anthony grow if that can evolve a little bit more, and then also get it a little bit more into Kenny’s home life. We haven’t talked about Kenny’s mom, dad, or brother at all in season 5. Well, we did brush up on it for a little bit. But I’m interested to see if they can go a little deeper into that storyline in season 6.

Dallas Dupree Young
Kenny and Robby in episode 5. (Netflix)

There was a lot of karate this season. Obviously, it’s about karate, but the physicality was really there this season. Did you feel that you had to do more training than usual?
Dallas Dupree Young: For season 5, I feel I definitely had to do a lot more training. It was a lot more intense, and the stakes were as high as they’ve ever been in season 5. I feel as though the battle between Miyagi-do and Cobra Kai, this was the final one, this was the big hurrah in the end. I felt as though for my character Kenny to execute the way I wanted him to, I felt as though I needed to train a lot harder and make sure my technique was great and think about the origins of karate all at the same time. We talked about character development with the stunt coordinators, but I definitely worked a lot harder in season 5 than season 4 with training.

Kenny and Anthony have come face-to-face, whether it be at a waterpark or the school, are you trying to manifest a battle between these two on the mat? I feel like it’s inevitable.
Dallas Dupree Young: Yes, we need to make it happen. This is what I’m excited about. I need to see a real huge karate battle between Anthony LaRusso and Kenny Payne. I don’t know when we’re going to see it, but I need to manifest the right now. That would be a dream come true for me.

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