The Best Part Of Ahsoka Was Ray Stevenson’s Idea

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

Ray Stevenson as Baylan Skoll in Ahsoka

One of the greatest joys of watching Star Wars over the years has been the introduction of new lightsabers, and the latest from the franchise far, far away is delivering the goods on that front. As reported by CBR, the new lightsaber look in the hands of Ahsoka’s villain Baylan Skoll was designed based on ideas from the actor who plays him, the late Ray Stevenson.

The unique look to Baylan Skoll’s lightsaber in Ahsoka came directly from a suggestion by Ray Stevenson.

Speaking at the Destination D23 event, Ahsoka prop master Josh Roth explained that Ray Stevenson wanted to make his character’s lightsaber extra special. Stevenson approached the team with a change to the lightsaber’s pommel – the butt end of the hilt. The result is an instantly iconic look with an attachment ring.

The change helps craft a unique lightsaber in the Star Wars canon. In episode one of Ahsoka, it is revealed that Skoll’s lightsaber is unlike any that has been crafted in centuries. Its blade burns with a reddish-orange glow unique to the franchise, subtly separating Baylan Skoll from his previous villainous counterparts.

Ahsoka has been pushing the franchise forward while exploring the past, and its character design has been a large part of its success.

Dave Filoni, the creator of Ahsoka, said that the dual tone of Skoll’s lightsaber was inspired by his observations watching the original Star Wars trilogy. To him, the visual effects in the early Star Wars films seemed to cause Darth Vader’s lightsaber to switch between orange and red. With Skoll’s red-orange saber, he hopes to create doubt about where the former Jedi’s loyalties lie.

Ray Stevenson in Ahsoka

Only five episodes in, Ahsoka is shaping up to be an exciting entry in the Star Wars universe, and Baylan Skoll makes a formidable opponent. He has already hacked his way through hallways full of helpless good guys and put the beat down on Ahsoka.

Stevenson’s adjustments to the hilt of his character’s saber help give the weapon a heavy look and feel, emphasizing Skoll’s knight-like fighting style. His hits are heavy and aggressive; he may not be as fast as Ahsoka, but he has proven to be stronger.

As the series’ intensity ramps up, the fighting demands on Ahsoka actress Rosario Dawson are sure to only increase. To keep up with her bouts of epic combat, Josh Roth also went to work upgrading Ahsoka’s lightsabers.

The change to Skoll’s lightsaber influenced his heavy, claymore-based fighting style in Ahsoka.

Ahsoka made her live-action debut in Season 2 of The Mandalorian. As Roth explains, the batteries powering the light of Dawson’s lightsabers were hidden in her sleeves. For a series she leads, that would not do.

Roth and the prop team devised a way to free Dawson’s movement, allowing her and the fight choreography team to increase the complexity of the duel sequences in Ahsoka. Rosario Dawson has been outspoken about her love for doing Ahsoka’s stunts and fights herself, no matter how much it wears her down.

Fierce to the bone, Ahsoka will continue her journey through the galaxy for three more episodes. With a rematch with Baylan Skoll and the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn lurking on the horizon, Ahsoka keeps getting better. A hero is only as good as her villain, and the contributions, big and small, from the late, great Ray Stevenson are making sure Ahsoka is on the galaxy’s best.

This is the way.

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