“Star Wars: Ahsoka” paid tribute to late star Ray Stevenson, who died on May 21, in its series premiere on Tuesday.
An end card before the credits in the first episode read: “For our friend Ray.”
Stevenson completed filming on “Ahsoka” before his death at age 58. He plays an original character Baylan Skoll, a Force user who aligns himself with Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen). Skoll is the master to Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno); in fact, the first episode is titled “Master and Apprentice.”
Skoll is a formidable warrior who wields an orange lightsaber. In various trailers, he’s seen dispatching New Republic guards and dueling with Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) herself.
During Star Wars Celebration back in April, Stevenson shared with TheWrap how excited he was to be joining the live action series and holding a lightsaber for the first time.
“The first time was a costume camera test,” he recalled. “We’re all very nervous and standing in the costume. Somebody hands me the lightsaber, and then some guy turns it on. And, of course, you make the noise — ‘vvvrrrrmm vvvrrrrmm’ –because you can’t help it.”
He continued: “And then the beauty of it is that when you do the training and you get on the set and your fighting with Ahsoka — and she’s got two and they’re flashing everywhere — and then you pinch yourself. And you go, ‘I’m actually doing this. If you’re gonna give me a lightsaber, I’m gonna use it.”
Stevenson previously lent his voice talents as Gar Saxon in several episodes of “Star Wars: Rebels” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” He also appeared as Volstagg in two “Thor” movies and Governor Buxton in the critically acclaimed “RRR.”
Back in May, Dawson paid tribute to her late costar.
“Stunned and reeling from this tragic, devastating news. Gone too soon from this world,” the actress wrote on Instagram. “At a loss for words… Just wanted to mark this moment and share your ever ready and present smile. Love you forever. Holding your family in my heart.”
“Star Wars: Ahsoka” is now streaming on Disney+.