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One Ahsoka Character Keeps Stealing The Show - And It's Utterly Heartbreaking

"Ahsoka" revolves largely around characters that are already familiar to "Star Wars" fans. The Disney+ series is a continuation of "The Mandalorian" and "Star Wars Rebels," which means it features characters from both shows, including Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) herself. Other noteworthy "Rebels" characters — namely, Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) and Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) — are also expected to return in one or more of the new series' future episodes.

Just because the series' cast is made up of mostly returning characters, however, doesn't mean that "Ahsoka" hasn't introduced "Star Wars" fans to a handful of noteworthy faces for the first time. On the contrary, none of the series' characters have made quite as much of an impact up to this point as Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson). 

A former member of the Jedi Order, Baylan has quickly emerged as the most interesting and formidable of the show's antagonists. Ever since he made his screen debut on "Ahsoka," he's consistently stolen every single one of his scenes. That trend continues in "Ahsoka" Episode 4, titled "Fallen Jedi," which places an even brighter spotlight on Stevenson than any of the show's first three installments.

In a chapter that features the return of Hayden Christensen's Anakin Skywalker, it's a true testament to Stevenson's portrayal of Baylan that he manages to so thoroughly run away with "Fallen Jedi," which only makes the fact that he passed away in May all the more tragic.

Baylan Skoll isn't like Ahsoka's other characters

If the first four episodes of "Ahsoka" have made one thing clear, it's that there's a lot more to Baylan Skoll than meets the eye. In the series' first scene, Baylan and his apprentice, Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno), annihilate a crew of New Republic officials in such a ruthless manner that one could be forgiven for mistaking them as straightforward Sith operatives. However, "Ahsoka" has gone out of its way to make sure viewers know that Ray Stevenson's former Jedi isn't just another one-note evil Force user.

At several different points, Baylan has lightly but confidently pushed back against Morgan's toxic arrogance and has made sure that she's aware of his sadness over having to fight Ahsoka Tano. This unique blend of ruthlessness, honor, ambition, and sadness has separated Baylan not only from the rest of the characters on "Ahsoka," but also from nearly every other Jedi that "Star Wars" fans have met to date. Stevenson, for his part, perfectly manages to balance all of the character's seemingly contradictory qualities. His physicality, from his impeccable posture to the way he always holds his head high, gives Baylan an unmistakably regal quality, too.

That aspect of the character only makes him seem even more imposing when Stevenson emphasizes his height — as he does during the climactic duel of "Ahsoka" Episode 4 — to tower over his enemies. Over the years, "Star Wars" fans have come to appreciate Ahsoka Tano's skills as a duelist, so it's only thanks to the power, relentlessness, and surprising agility that Stevenson brings to his performance as Baylan that it's immediately easy to accept him as someone who could best Anakin Skywalker's former Padawan.

Star Wars fans are already mourning Ray Stevenson's inevitable absence

All of this is to say that Ray Stevenson has — in just four episodes of "Ahsoka" — already made a tangible mark on the "Star Wars" franchise. While it remains to be seen what the Disney+ series ultimately does with his character, too, it's clear that Baylan Skoll is in the midst of executing some potentially far-ranging plans. Unfortunately, even if Baylan does make it to the end of "Ahsoka" Season 1 alive, Stevenson's real-life death has made it so that the character will either have to be recast or written out of whatever story Lucasfilm originally had in mind for him. 

That's an undeniable shame, and it's something that "Star Wars" fans seem increasingly aware of in the wake of Stevenson's ferocious turn in "Ahsoka" Episode 4. Indeed, following the episode's release, @MikeKennedyNFL tweeted, "Ray Stevenson brings a gravitas and aura to Baylan Skoll in #Ahsoka that is uniquely grand, even among 'Star Wars' characters." Elsewhere, @imhectornavarro wrote, "Ray Stevenson is such a loss for the #Ahsoka show." 

In one Reddit thread dedicated to discussing the episode, u/rjkraus989 further praised Baylan's depiction on the Disney+ series, writing, "He has a special nuance to him that I love. Ray is absolutely phenomenal in that role." In response, another fan argued, "Ray has been the most captivating actor on this show by a mile."

"Ahsoka" viewers have, in other words, been thoroughly blown away by Ray Stevenson's performance. Taking that into account, as tragic as it is that he only got to play his "Star Wars" character once, it seems safe to say that the actor absolutely made the most of his one-time turn as Baylan.