As many Star Wars fans likely know, Ahsoka actor Ray Stevenson sadly passed away in May. The news was devastating at the time, and it became all the more poignant three months later when the show premiered. Shortly after its debut, Stevenson’s character, Baylan Skoll, became an instant fan favorite. Though he had completed filming for prior to his passing, fans like myself still can’t help but wonder if his character's fate is going to mimic a similar arc for one key character from the franchise's sequel trilogy: Princess Leia.
Don’t get me wrong, it's sad when an actor dies regardless of the circumstances, and fans usually show out when it comes to paying respects. (Just look at the outpouring of love for Michael Gambon from the Harry Potter community this past weekend.) However, but it's arguably more bittersweet when an actor passes away during or right after completing a phenomenal role. The Star Wars family knows that kind of situation well and, because of that, I have a bad feeling about what lies ahead for Baylan in the finale. Let's talk this out, shall we?
Princess Leia Didn't Get The Ending She Deserved In The Sequel Trilogy
Carrie Fisher’s death was devastating for so many people and for a myriad of reasons. She was a beloved mother, daughter, sister, actress, and friend, and her loss was and remains tremendous. Less importantly (but notably), her passing also impacted the Star Wars sequels, as Leia was set to be a major player in The Rise of Skywalker. That would've mirrored how Harrison Ford's Han Solo and Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker played key roles in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, respectively. Unfortunately, Fisher passed away before filming began, and J.J. Abrams and the team behind the movie had to find a new way to tell their story without General Organa.
While Princess Leia did appear in the final sequel movie through the use of previously shot footage, her send-off wasn’t what many fans were expecting. Nor was it what the iconic Princess Leia character deserved. Again, Ray Stevenson did manage to complete his work on Ahsoka's season before he died, but there's still reason to be concerned.
I Have A Feeling Baylan Skoll Will Suffer A Similar Fate
Obviously, we won’t know what's going to happen to Baylan until after the finale airs this week, but given the Star Wars television universe’s affinity for ending seasons on cliffhangers, there's a chance Ahsoka could follow suit. Series creator Dave Filoni and co. may have planned a cliffhanger that sets up a potential second season. Or at the very least, such a development could set the stage for Filoni's upcoming movie (which will make use of cutting-edge technology) that is said to tie all the D+ shows together.
I worry that if Baylan’s storyline isn't resolved by the end of the season and Dave Filoni had big plans for him down the road, he could end up being brushed to the side. The character hardly had any screen time in Episode 7. In it, he sent his apprentice, Shin Hati, after Sabine Wren and Ezra Bridger so he could continue with his own journey to find what or who is calling to him on Peridea. He did, of course, also engage in a duel with the titular protagonist, but there wasn't much forward progress when it came to his arc.
It's feeling more and more likely Ahsoka fans, like myself, might have to reckon with an unfinished ending for the great Lord Baylan Skoll. That would be a shame, given how much potential there is with for the former Jedi Knight/General-turned- mercenary. What's been most compelling about him is that morally, he seems to operate in a grey area between the light and dark sides of the Force. It's possible Skoll's arc will conclude this week but, given what's been set up, one just can't shake the feeling his story won't be completely tied up.
Of course, the powers that be at Lucasfilm could choose to recast the Star Wars character for future stories if needed, but I don’t think many fans would be pleased with that. I would personally be more angry than excited. After all, part of what makes Baylan a great character is Ray Stevenson's performance. And I highly doubt Dave Filoni has unused footage to stitch together the way Abrams did with Carrie Fisher’s Leia in The Rise of Skywalker. I'm definitely nervous about how the story will go for Skoll, but let's hope it's satisfying.
Ahsoka is streaming now for anyone with an active Disney+ subscription, and the finale drops on October 3rd at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Those who are already eager to know what the next major production set in the galaxy far, far away will be can also read up on upcoming Star Wars shows and movies.