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Ray Stevenson Ahsoka Tribute: How Did He Die?

Ray Stevenson Ahsoka Tribute: How Did He Die?

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The eagerly awaited Ahsoka series has Star Wars fans everywhere on the edge of their seats. The series stars Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano, a former Jedi Padawan that trained under Anakin Skywalker.

But it isn’t just the continuation Ahsoka’s story that has fans talking. The very first episode ended with a dedication to a man named Ray Stevenson. Viewers couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to the actor.

Find out who Ray Stevenson was and why he received a tribute Ahsoka in the guide below.

Who Is Ray Stevenson?

Ray Stevenson was an Irish actor who starred in Punisher: Warzone, Rome, and RRR. He also played the villainous dark Force user Baylan Skoll in Ahsoka.

Ahsoka isn’t Stevenson’s first time in the Star Wars universe. He also voiced Gar Saxon in both Star Wars: Rebels and Clone Wars.

Ray Stevenson as Baylan Skoll in Ashoka

Born in Northern Ireland on May 25, 1964, Ray Stevenson relocated with his family to England when he was eight years old. He began acting on television in the 90s and was also in the Emmy-nominated 2005 series Rome.

Stevenson moved to film in the early 2000s, with his career really taking off with 2004’s King Arthur.

In the film, Stevenson played one of the Knights of the Round Table, Dagonet. A few years later, he starred as Frank Castle in Punisher: War Zone, a reboot of the 2004 film.

Stevenson continued to play hard-hitting physical characters in the following decade. He had roles in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Three Musketeers, and Divergent.  He even played one of Chris Hemsworth’s Warrior allies, Volstagg, in the first three Thor movies.

One of Stevenson’s most recent roles was as the villainous Governor Scott Buxton in the smash Tollywood hit RRR. And, of course, he played Baylan Skoll in Ahsoka.

What Happened To Ray Stevenson?

Ray Stevenson died on May 21, 2023, three months before the debut of Ahsoka, in which he plays Bayaln Skoll. His exact cause of death is currently unknown.

According to Italian news outlet la Repubblica, Ray Stevenson died in Ischia, Italy. Stevenson was hospitalized that Saturday while filming an upcoming movie called Cassino in Ischia.

Elisabetta Caraccia and Ray Stevenson at the World premiere of 'Thor Ragnarok' held at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, USA on October 10, 2017
Ray Stevenson and his wife Elisabetta Caraccia at the World premiere of Thor Ragnarok in 2017. Credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

Sources haven’t confirmed the actual illness yet, but Stevenson’s health continued to decline while in the hospital. He died the following day at age 58, just four days shy of his birthday.

Ahsoka is one of the last projects Stevenson completed before his death. In honor of his passing, the first episode of the series includes the phrase “For Our Friend, Ray” in the closing credits.

Ray Stevenson As Baylan Skoll In Ahsoka

Baylan Skoll, like Ahsoka, previously aligned himself with the Jedi Order before the rise of the Empire. Both characters were able to escape Order 66, the widespread killing of Jedi ordered by Emperor Palpatine.

However, Skoll chose to become a Dark Jedi after his escape, whereas Ahsoka chose to join the Rebel Alliance. Skoll became a mercenary and eventually ended up working with villain Morgan Elspeth to find Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Ray Stevenson as Baylan in Ashoka holding a red light saber and using the force

Despite the darkness of his character, Stevenson was delighted to become part of the live-action Star Wars universe.

In an interview shortly before his death, Ray Stevenson appeared to EW as “a bundle of energy…who could not contain his glee” over his role in Ahsoka.

Stevenson said that while working on the show that one “can’t wait to get back to set and see what’s going to be revealed that day.”

And when he got his first chance to power up a lightsaber on set, Stevenson fondly remembered that his excitement got the better of him.

“I must admit, the first time you turn a lightsaber on, you make the noise. [And then you’re like] ‘Oh, I’m so sorry.’ Everybody does that, but you just can’t help it!”

Co-Stars React To Ray Stevenson’s Death

The cast and crew of Ahsoka expressed their grief over Ray Steveson’s death on social media.

Rosario Dawson shared a post on her Instagram in honor of her co-star, using the hashtag “#LegendsNeverDie.”

Ivanna Sakhno, who plays the apprentice of Stevenson’s character, also turned to Instagram to share her memories of Ray.

Along with a picture of her, Ray, and their co-star Diana Lee Inosanto, Sakhno posted “My heart is shattered…Fly freely, Blackbird.”

Star Wars actors weren’t the only people to open up about Ray Stevenson. James Gunn, who filmed the end-credits sequence for Thor: The Dark World that included Stevenson, posted a tribute on Twitter to him:

And James Purefoy, who played Mark Antony opposite Stevenson on Rome, described his co-star as a “brilliant, gutsy, larger-than-life actor.”

At only 58 years old, it’s clear that Ray Stevenson’s death came a shock, and he will be missed by many.