‘Ahsoka’ Actress Mourns Late Co-Star: “Just Such a Larger Than Life Person”

in Entertainment, Star Wars

ray stevenson Ahsoka star wars

Credit: Lucasfilm

A central theme of Star Wars is being able to let go of attachment, and accepting that sometimes, things happen that are simply beyond our control. This is a message the cast of the Disney+ Ahsoka show are driving home in a new interview, reflecting on their time with the late Ray Stevenson and the powerful impact he had on the show.

Baylan Skoll and his apprentice Shin Hati looking at a star map in episode of 'Ahsoka' on Disney+
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Ray Stevenson Remembered in Tribute From His Last Director

When news broke that Ray Stevenson, a veteran actor best known for his work on Punisher: War Zone (2008), HBO’s Rome anthology series, and Marvel’s Thor franchise, had passed away at the age of 58, thoughtful tributes poured in from around the globe, honoring the performer and his undeniable influence on the TV realm. His untimely passing came after he was hospitalized on the set of a new movie in Italy.

Tragically enough, his death came mere weeks before the premiere of the Disney+ Ahsoka show, which he starred in alongside Rosario Dawson, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Ivanna Sakhno, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Diana Lee Inosanto, among others. The actor had already developed a dedicated fanbase within the sci-fi community for his voiceover role as Gar Saxon in Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

gar saxon in clone wars

Related: James Gunn and More Pay Tribute To Ray Stevenson

In Ahsoka, Stevenson plays Baylan Skoll, a mysterious Dark Side Force user with a murky past. He and his orange lightsaber-wielding apprentice, Shin Hati (Sakhno), are essentially bounty hunters for Morgan Elsbeth (Inosanto), an evil Nightsister loyal to former Imperial warlord Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen). And until Elsbeth can pinpoint Thrawn’s whereabouts and pull him from the Unknown Regions, Baylan and his padawan learner will pose a substantial threat to Ahsoka and her allies.

So far, Baylan Skoll has already proved to be an unquestionable highlight of Ahsoka, making his death all the more upsetting to fans of his work. But Stevenson’s passing left an especially big hole in the hearts of his Star Wars castmates, who are reflecting on his life and death in a recent edition of SFX Magazine.

Ray Stevenson as Balon Skoll in Ahsoka
Credit: Lucasfilm

Speaking with the publication, Sabine Wren actress Natasha Liu Bordizzo opened up about her experience on the show and acting alongside Stevenson as they made their live-action Star Wars debuts together. She noted that she had “a lot of great, great scenes with him,” describing Stevenson as “just such a larger-than-life person,” alluding to his powerful onscreen persona and equally imposing real-life height of 6’3.

sabine wren live-action
Credit: Lucasfilm

In Bordizzo’s eyes, his “complex” personality truly “[came] through in the character,” with the actress expressing a sense of gratitude that she “got to spend that whole year with him last year” while they shot Ahsoka together:

It really comes through in the character, who’s really intriguing, complex and not what you expect. I obviously feel really sad but grateful that we got to spend that whole year with him last year, creating so many memories and shooting such amazing stuff.

Shin Hati in 'Ahsoka'
Credit: Lucasfilm

And amazing stuff, there certainly is. While we haven’t seen much of Baylan Skoll yet in the first three episodes of Ahsoka, his backstory is shrouded in mystery, and unraveling it could be one of the show’s most important plot points. But so far, Stevenson has been a scene-stealer, particularly in his moments with Shin and Elsbeth.

As for his TV Padawan, Ivanna Sakhno shared her own tribute to Stevenson shortly after his death in May, taking to Instagram to write, “Ray… My heart is shattered and I can’t fathom you not being here. My dear friend. My Master. A giant with an even bigger heart. You understood the infinite. Your love for life, your partner Elisabetta and your 3 boys was unyielding. Knowing you in this lifetime had been one of the greatest gifts.”

Ray Stevenson as Baylan Skoll in 'Ahsoka' star wars
Credit: Lucasfilm

Lucasfilm and Disney+ shared their own tribute for Ray Stevenson in the final moments of Ahsoka Episode 1, showing the heartfelt message, “For our friend, Ray,” on screen just before the credits rolled. While it’s difficult to accept that this talented actor is now part of the Force, his memory lives on in Ahsoka and through his co-stars, and it’ll be interesting to see where the show takes his character next.

New episodes of Ahsoka arrive on Disney+ on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. PT.

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