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[This story contains spoilers for Cobra Kai season four.]
Stingray is back — and Cobra Kai fans could not be more delighted.
The fourth season of the wildly popular Netflix series dropped on New Year’s Eve and is already among the top titles on the platform globally, per Netflix’s own metrics.
With the new season comes the return of fan-favorite Raymond, aka Stingray — played by award-winning actor Paul Walter Hauser — an eccentric goof who just wants to be in with the popular karate crowd, despite being far older and fairly out of place.
Introduced in Cobra Kai season two, Stingray was absent during season three because Hauser was busy with another huge project. Now he’s back — but the character’s return comes at a brutal price, which is how season four concludes.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Hauser about joining the Cobra Kai cast, Stingray’s season four return, and why the actor was late to his pitch meeting for the series.
How did you initially become involved in the Cobra Kai series?
I got a call from my reps telling me that the creators had seen I, Tonya and had a character for me in season two. I hadn’t watched Cobra Kai, but it sounded like some schlocky revival idea. But, I dug the creators’ [Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald and Hayden Schlossberg] Harold and Kumar films and Hot Tub Time Machine. On the ride to lunch to meet them, I watched the first three episodes of Cobra Kai on my iPad. I was so hooked that I showed up 10 minutes late to the meeting just to finish an episode. We ate Mexican food and endlessly quoted the film Dirty Work and talked of our admiration for John Goodman in The Big Lebowski. That was it. The show was good, they were cool. And they bought me nachos.
Did you know Raymond (Stingray) was coming back for season four, or were you just as surprised when you got the call?
Josh, Jon and Hayden offered me season three in early August 2019, but I had already committed to doing Cruella for Disney. So, I had to pass and hope they might let me come back in the future. I was grateful they did. The show understands its tone and characters intimately. Cobra Kai has smart people doing silly things — which I can’t get enough of.
Cobra Kai fans are hard-core. How has the response been for you?
When I stroll through an airport at 6 a.m., they don’t shout, “Yo, we LOVE that racist you played in BlacKkKlansman!” They shout, or loudly whisper, “Stingraaaaay” with a mischievous smile. I love the show and hope that I can someday be shooting scenes for season seven while doing a Jane Campion film on the side.
Speaking of more seasons, I know season five has already been shot. Anything you can tease about Stingray?
I can’t say a gol dang thing about Stingray in season five.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
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