[Spoiler alert for Star Wars: Ahsoka.] “There are so few Jedi left,” Baylan Skoll (the late Ray Stevenson) told his apprentice Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) on Ahsoka. And after “The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord” season finale ended with the fallen Jedi-turned-mercenary pursuing his own path on the wasteland planet Peridea — one guided by the Mortis gods — there is one less Jedi in the galaxy. Skoll told Shin to take her place in the coming Empire under the returned Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) and then answered the great power calling to him: statues of The Ones.
“He’s a person that survived the Clone Wars, that was trained in the waxing-waning days of the Jedi Knights, just like Anakin,” Ahsoka series creator and recently promoted Lucasfilm Chief Content Officer Dave Filoni told Vanity Fair of the original character. “He saw his order, his way of life fall apart. And he’s basically deemed it a failure: That way did not work. That it’s not something worth resurrecting. Which is why he tells Shin, ‘I didn’t teach you to be a Jedi. I taught you to be something more.'”
As Skoll told Shin, he missed the idea of the Jedi Order — but “not the truth, not the weakness.” While standing over what was once the great Witch Kingdom of the Dathmiri, Skoll felt the pull of the Mortis gods — the Father, the Son, and the Daughter — and then parted ways with his apprentice.
“He’s tried to take these teachings that he learned as a young person and create his own way of being. And he’s looked at the cycle of things and said, ‘Enough with this. If I have this power, I should wield it. I should be the one making decisions,’ which a lot of people with power decide that’s the way to go,” Filoni explained. “He’s also very certain that what he’s doing now is the right thing.”
Stevenson died in May at the age of 58, leaving the fate of his Star Wars character up in the air. Whether the role is recast or Skoll’s story continues in the interconnected Star Wars comic books, novels, or animated series remains to be seen, but Filoni notes that “obviously, there’s a story there.”
“We’re in a wait-and-see pattern at this point. But I’m glad the conversation is about Ray and how great he was…. I used to have mini debates with him and say, ‘Ray, you’re the villain here.’ And he’d be like, ‘I don’t think so.’ I was like, ‘I know you don’t think so, but you are. I love that you’re playing it like you’re not.’ Which is exactly the way Baylan thinks,” Filoni said, adding the late actor “would’ve been over the moon” to see fans’ reception of his imposing and complicated character.
“The big regret here is that he didn’t get to experience that,” Filoni said. “I’m glad he was at Star Wars Celebration with us, that he got to see the trailer and get a taste of that from the fans. And they’ve been nothing but wonderful about Ray and the character.”
All episodes of Star Wars: Ahsoka season 1 are now available to stream on Disney+.