Vanessa Rubio is bringing a stabilizing force as a regular on the newest season of Netflix’s “Cobra Kai.”
Created by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, the show serves as a sequel to the popular “Karate Kid” films and is set 34 years into the future. The show is told from the point of view of Johnny Lawrence, played by original actor William Zabka, who decides to reopen the Cobra Kai karate dojo. The show also features Ralph Macchio reprising his role as Daniel LaRusso.
Rubio plays Carmen Diaz, the mother of Cobra Kai student Miguel Diaz who often worries about her son’s safety and opposes fighting in general. She joined the cast in the first season in a recurring role.
“None of us knew where [the show] was going to go or how it would turn out. Because it was a revival, we were not really knowing what to expect, but it bloomed into a wonderful thing,” said Rubio. “On paper, Carmen seemed like a simple character — she’s a single mother, she’s strong, and there’s a history of why she’s a single mother and she’s a bit over-protective. What drew me in was the strength of the character and the ability to know this character. She has a lot of heart, and that meant so much with her being a Latinx character.”
One thing in particular that Rubio likes about playing Carmen is the stabilization that she gives other characters like Miguel and Johnny throughout the course of the show.
“She maintains this stasis of establishing a stable homelife through a not traditional family, she guards it really well for herself and her son,” said Rubio. “That kind of influences the other characters, namely Johnny, and offers emotional stability. She is who she is, and in her development that loosens up a but to potentially letting another figure be an influence for her son, and possibly be a romantic interest for her. Her story is one of loosening shoestrings.”
For season four, Rubio’s character has been bumped up to a series regular, which was a welcomed surprise for Rubio. She enjoys the comradery that comes with being on set on a full-time basis and allows her to really immerse herself in the show and character.
Regardless, Rubio finds that she is able to create those special moments for herself and fellow cast members.
“There are those special moments that you realize are happening while they are happening. There’s a scene where the LaRusso family comes together and seems like they have something special about them,” said Rubio. “There’s lots of moving parts but it feels like a good comradery is happening. Moments like that, you feel them while they are happening. You get to celebrate what you are doing together.”
Those who tune in for the fourth season of “Cobra Kai” can expect to see more for not just Carmen but the rest of the characters as they try to move forward from the events of the prior seasons. Plus, Rubio hinted that there may be something more going on for Carmen and Johnny.
“There is definitely something going on with Johnny. They’ve had a lot of ‘will they, won’t they.’ I’ve gotten feedback from fans that Carmen is too good for Johnny,” said Rubio. “I will say that in season four, the mistakes of the past are in the past and the characters are trying to get past them. There’s a lot of maturity and making bigger and bolder choices.”
The fourth season of “Cobra Kai” premieres on Netflix on Dec. 31. You can follow Rubio on Instagram @veryvness.