Ahsoka might not have been the greatest addition to the Star Wars canon, but one strength was Baylan Skoll. The Jedi-turned-Sith-outlaw brought a fascinating spin on the standard franchise antagonist, and creator Dave Filoni has revealed that there was some dispute over Baylan’s point of view.
Filoni is responsible for a lot of good in modern Star Wars. He spearheaded the Star Wars series The Clone Wars and Rebels before moving on to the live-action Disney Plus shows, where he just recently gave his treasure Ahsoka Tano her own show.
He was mentored directly by George Lucas, but that doesn’t mean he’s always right. On Ahsoka, for instance, Ray Stevenson believed Filoni was off base about Baylan Skoll. “I used to have mini-debates with him and say, ‘Ray, you’re the villain here.’ And he’d be like, ‘I don’t think so,'” Filoni tells Vanity Fair. “I was like, ‘I know you don’t think so, but you are. I love that you’re playing it like you’re not.’ Which is exactly the way Baylan thinks.”
Filoni was right in a puritanical sense. Baylan Skoll is one of the Star Wars villains of Ahsoka, second to Grand Admiral Thrawn, whose return is heralded throughout the sci-fi series. But Stevenson’s take allows for more nuance in the Star Wars character.
Coming from the Jedi Order – a disgraced institution that couldn’t see Anakin’s downfall right under its nose – Baylan believes something different is needed, using Sith principles. His methods are wrong, but philosophically, he’s not as far from Ahsoka as you might think. They share a fundamental belief that the Jedi and Sith paradigm is a cycle of outdated beliefs that perpetuate each other.
Therefore, you need to break the cycle. Baylan believed Thrawn would provide the apparatus to do that. He was wrong on that because Thrawn is completely self-serving. By the end of Ahsoka, Baylan’s on the path toward being an anti-villain. At odds with our hero but a baddie in and of himself? Not so much.
The same goes for his apprentice, Shin Hati, who’s further along on her redemption arc than Baylan is. Filoni mentions potential plans since Stevenson tragically passed away before Ahsoka premiered. “We’re in a wait-and-see pattern at this point,” Filoni stated.
Should Baylan return for the Ahsoka season 2 release date, we’d bet he might be just a little bit sympathetic, proving Stevenson more correct than Filoni. But that’s just our prediction! Check out our guides on new Star Wars movies and the Skeleton Crew release date to see where else is strong with the force.