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Star Wars Theory May Explain How Ahsoka Villain Baylan Skoll Knew Anakin Skywalker

"Ahsoka" is bringing a number of new faces to the "Star Wars" universe, including two dark side Force users seemingly under the employ of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen). Baylan Skoll (the late Ray Stevenson) and his young apprentice Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) were first revealed in the teaser trailer for the upcoming Disney+ "Star Wars" series. And though their lightsabers are orange instead of the usual Sith red, it's easy to tell that they aren't exactly Jedi.

The new trailer for "Ahsoka" reveals a bit more about Baylan and Shin, with the former telling Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) that her old master Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) always spoke highly of her. This reveals that Baylan and Anakin knew each other before the latter turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader. And thanks to recent interviews with the "Ahsoka" cast and production team from Empire, we have a solid theory as to how that could be.

According to the magazine's July issue, which dives deep into the show, Baylan is a former Jedi who escaped Order 66 by fleeing into the Unknown Regions — the shadowy area of the galaxy where Grand Admiral Thrawn and the First Order both gather strength. At some point while on the run, after becoming frustrated with the limitations of the light side and resentful of his fate, Baylan came into the service of Thrawn, where he remains in "Ahsoka." That leaves ample opportunities for Anakin and Baylan to have met.

Anakin and Baylan fought together in the Clone Wars

If Baylan didn't leave the Jedi until Order 66 (which, to be fair, shouldn't really count as leaving), he definitely would have known Anakin Skywalker. Basically every Jedi in the galaxy served the Republic during the Clone Wars, either as a field commander for military units or in one of many backline support roles. From the look of him, Baylan seems like a warrior, so it's easy to imagine him leading clone troopers on the battlefield, just like Anakin.

In fact, the two characters appear to be pretty close in age. The "Ahsoka" series takes place roughly 30 years after Order 66, and Baylan looks somewhere between 50 and 60. That would put him in his early 20s during the Clone Wars — the same as Anakin. Did the two have Jedi classes together? Were they on the same field trip to Ilum to get their lightsabers? Very possibly, but if so, they also remained close beyond their padawan training. Anakin never met Ahsoka before she was assigned as his apprentice a few months into the Clone Wars. For him to have mentioned her to Baylan, they must have stayed in touch.

Unlike Anakin, though, who turns to the dark side just before Order 66, Baylan would have had to escape from his own clone troops when they turned on him. So why would he later align himself with the same Empire that made him an outcast?

Where has Baylan Skoll been since Order 66?

With about 30 years between the fall of the Republic and the events of "Ahsoka," Baylan Skoll has a lot of time to account for. Fleeing to the Unknown Regions would have kept him safe from Imperial Inquisitors, but that doesn't mean he had an easy time of it. At least some of his backstory will surely be revealed in the upcoming Disney+ show, as there are already some big questions that need answering.

First and foremost, why did Baylan give up the Jedi ways and join the very evil regime that hunted down his former comrades? Rage in the wake of such a betrayal is understandable, but defecting to the other side is a curious choice — especially since Baylan and Shin don't appear to be full-blown Sith. In the recent trailer, he makes it clear that they're not Jedi any longer (and Shin may be too young to have ever been). However, their orange lightsabers and overall demeanor suggest a different sort of dark side user.

One theory is that Baylan and Shin are Gray Jedi — a classification from the old Expanded Universe (now known as the Legends timeline). Falling somewhere between their namesakes and the Sith, Gray Jedi have yet to be made canon again in the Disney continuity. But since red lightsabers are the unavoidable result of a kyber crystal being fully "bled" by the dark side, there's clearly something different going on with these two.