It’s been confirmed that Irish actor Ray Stevenson, known for his roles in Star Wars and Marvel productions, has passed away aged 58.
A number of sources have reported the sad news that actor Ray Stevenson died on Sunday in Italy. The announcement was initially broken by Italian Newspaper La Repubblica, then confirmed by industry publication, Variety. Stevenson was apparently in the country for production on his next film, Cassino in Ischia.
The actor passed away at the age of 58, leaving behind a diverse range of work, including Rome, Vikings, RRR, GI Joe: Retaliation, The Transporter: Refuelled, King Arthur and many more movie and TV roles. Marvel fans will most likely remember Stevenson having played the lead role in Punisher: War Zone and as the larger-than-life Asgardian warrior Volstagg in the first three Thor movies.
The Irish actor was also part of the Star Wars universe, with his first credited role being the voice of Gar Saxon in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. The Imperial Viceroy of Madalore, Saxon hailed from Clan Vizsla and was a ruthless and feared leader. During the Clone Wars the character aligned himself with Darth Maul, becoming one of the renegade Sith’s generals in the Shadow Collective. He was ultimately killed by Sabine Wren’s mother, Ursa, before Saxon could blast the rebel in the back.
Stevenson will next be seen posthumously in Star Wars: Ahsoka as Baylan Skoll, a Force-sensitive character who wields a striking orange lightsaber. Little is known about Skoll at this stage, although he can be seen duelling with Ahsoka Tano in the first trailer for the upcoming Disney+ show.
The actor was excited to be making his live-action debut in the series and recently talked about the role at this year’s Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023. “The first time was a camera test,” Stevenson 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, ‘vvvrrrmmm vvvrrrmmm’ because you can’t help it.”
“And then the beauty of it is that when you do the training and you get on the set and you’re 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!”
Dave Filoni, creator and executive producer of the upcoming Ahsoka series and executive creative director for Lucasfilm responded to the news, saying, “We have lost a great talent and friend in Ray Stevenson. His kindness and generosity were felt by our entire team on Ahsoka. I always looked forward to working with Ray, and I appreciated his insight and daily wisdom. I am glad that his memory will live on through his family, friends, and the many characters he created. Thank you, Ray, for everything.”
Images: Star Wars