With Ahsoka finally concluding, we have far more questions than answers, including the situation surrounding the mysterious Baylan Skoll. The engaging, new character in the Star Wars universe captured the attention of many viewers, and people are craving to see more. Skoll was played by actor Ray Stevenson, who unfortunately passed away just weeks before the series premiere. While many advocate for for Bayaln’s story to be continued, the character should not be recast and should simply be retired in an honorable way.
Although the character may be one of the most interesting additions to Star Wars we’ve seen in quite a long time, there are many reasons that make recasting the character a bad idea. The creator of the series, Dave Filoni, did a marvelous job giving Baylan a juicy cliffhanger at the end of the series that would make fans come back for more. Unfortunately, with Stevenson now gone, that payoff will never be the same with a recast actor.
It’s not hard to see that the majority of what made Baylan Skoll such a beloved and iconic character is the actor who portrayed him. Stevenson delivered a phenomenal performance as Skoll, and even from the role of a villain, made us all connect and relate to the character in a way that none of us expected to.
That near-unprecedented task alone speaks to the uniqueness of Stevenson and how only he could execute such a flawless role. While Dave Filoni was the man in the chair, Stevenson still poured his heart and soul out for everyone at home to cherish.
Stevenson was also a meaningful presence behind the scenes as well. Actress Ivanna Sakhno, who played Shin Hati alongside Baylan spoke a few weeks ago on the passing of Stevenson and gave very heartfelt remarks about her former colleague, mentor, and friend.
Sakhno was heartbroken at the loss and claims she now carries the light that was once in him. Allowing Sakhno to show just that on screen would be a much better tribute to Stevenson’s work and legacy than recasting any old replacement. Sakno and Stevenson had a real connection that can be felt through the camera. Therefore, the best way to extend Stevenson’s work is through Sakhno’s future performances unarguably.
Going this route in the story would be similar to Marvel Studios’ handling of Chadwick Boseman’s death back in 2020. Boseman was the lead actor in Black Panther and unexpectedly passed away before the production of the Black Panther Sequel. Marvel decided that the mantle would be bestowed upon another rather than recast the character, and Boseman’s character would canonically die off-screen. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ended up being both a beautiful tribute to Bosemen’s legacy and a beginning for the new Black Panther.
While Stevenson wasn’t the lead role in Ahsoka, he was nearly the only part of the series that all fans could agree was incredible. As divided as the Star Wars fandom is, Ray’s portrayal brought us all together and gave us some incredible memories. For that, we owe him our respect.