Ahsoka has broken a lot of new ground in the Star Wars universe, not the least of which has been bringing several fan-favorite characters from Rebels into live-action for the first time. But as cool as seeing live-action Hera and Sabine is, most fans agree the show’s crowning achievement has been its original characters, namely Ahsoka‘s two dark Jedi Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati. But while Shin actress Ivanna Sakhno will no doubt go on to portray the young force wielder in future projects, due to his untimely passing earlier this year, Ray Stevenson, who plays Baylan Skoll on Ahsoka, will not, but here are actors we can easily see replacing him in the role.
Unless the final episode of Ahsoka kills off Baylan Skoll—and even then, death is never permanent in Star Wars—Lucasfilm has two options when it comes to the villain going forward. The first is to continue using Stevenson’s likeness through CGI—a technique that Disney has used several times now with mixed results—and the second option is to recast the character. We’re not alone in saying that option two would be the preferable method.
But what actor should Disney hire to replace Stevenson? Who can best bring the gravitas and quiet power to the role of ex-Jedi turned mercenary Baylan Skoll as he continues his quest to bring an end to the endless cycle of war that plagues the Star Wars galaxy? Believe it or not, there are a few suitable options.
Gerard Butler As Baylan Skoll
For starters, there’s Gerard Butler. Butler has a look similar to Stevenson’s, and a quick look at his filmography reveals he’s no stranger to action. Plus, Butler has already proven himself adept at swinging a sword around in 2006’s historical action epic 300, making him more than qualified to pick up Baylan Skoll’s orange-red lightsaber.
Liev Schreiber As Baylan Skoll
If the Geostorm actor isn’t Lucasfilm’s cup of tea, another great option would be Liev Schreiber. The Ray Donovan actor, much like Butler, is no stranger to action, as seen in roles like Sabretooth from X-Men Origins: Wolverine. What makes Schreiber perhaps even more qualified to play Baylan Skoll are his non-action parts in movies like Spotlight and Asteroid City.
Roles that prove the actor can do more than just swing around Skoll’s laser sword but can also deliver Baylan’s speeches about the flawed Jedi order with the gravitas that Stevenson brought to the role.
Russell Crowe As Baylan Skoll
Possibly the absolute best choice to replace the late Ray Stevenson as Baylan Skoll is Russell Crowe. Not only are the actors roughly the same build, but they are around the same age as well. Crowe has all of the best qualities of Butler and Schreiber. He can do action (Gladiator) drama (State of Play) and, as an added bonus, has no problem with doing franchise work (Thor: Love and Thunder).
Meanwhile, Crowe definitely has a soft spot for Star Wars if this tweet from 2015 is any indication.
Given that Disney already has their hooks in Crowe via the MCU, it probably wouldn’t take much effort to get him to jump franchises and take up the role of a former Jedi in a galaxy far, far, away. It won’t even technically be Crowe’s first time playing a space wizard of sorts if you count Superman’s father, Jor-El, in Man of Steel—which, for the sake of this article, we do.
Any of the above-named actors would make an excellent choice to carry on Stevenson’s legacy as the new Baylan Skoll—should Dave Filoni continue the character past the first season of Ahsoka, that is. While it seems like a no-brainer, given the overwhelmingly positive fan response to Baylan and his apprentice Shin, Lucasfilm has been known to drop the ball from time to time.
You know, like bringing back the core trio from the original Star Wars trilogy—Han, Luke, and Leia—and then not having them share a single scene together over the course of three movies, stuff like that.