Hollywood and the world at large lost a true talent this year in the form of actor Ray Stevenson, who suddenly died at the age of 58 in May. Tributes from James Gunn, Scott Adkins, James Purefoy and more flooded the Internet shortly after the news broke. Another person to memorialize Steveson was Rosario Dawson, who worked with him on one of his final productions – Ahsoka. Now, Dawson is opening up about what it was like to work with him on the Star Wars series, which just started streaming for Disney+ subscription holders. These comments also arrive as the show itself paid tribute to the late actor.
When Rosario Dawson paid tribute to the Rome actor months ago, she appropriately referred to him as a “Ray of light.” She also described him as being “so vivacious & unbelievably present & vibrant.” While speaking with People, she provided further thoughts about getting to work alongside and befriend the fan-favorite actor. She spoke in depth about the qualities that made him a singular talent in her eyes. When describing him, she said he was:
… almost, like, Nordic kind of man, you know, who was very heavy-handed and then just like the most gentle, brilliant, like loving divine feminine spirit. You just had the most extraordinary conversations with him about his family and philosophies. I've had so many people who I know are friends with him. We were so blessed to have him working with us. He made all of us better.
Based on what fans could see of the man during interviews, he was quite enthusiastic about the projects he was promoting at a given time. Those who’ve searched out vintage footage are sure to know that he could generate some great discussions. So I’m not surprised in the slightest to hear that he was just as personable on set as he was while talking to the press. It’s honestly still somewhat surreal to think that he’s no longer with us. At the very least though, his legacy lives on, and his work is still being enjoyed.
Ahsoka tapped Ray Stevenson to play the role of Baylon Skoll, a former Jedi who’s fallen to the dark side of the Force and is now in league with the remnants of the Galactic Empire. With that role, Stevenson was called upon to wield a lightsaber. Only two episodes of the show have aired thus far, but Skoll has already proven to be adept with the weapon. Trailers have also teased a duel between him and the titular heroine, which should be a sight to behold. Rosario Dawson didn’t give away any specifics when talking about their fight, but it sounds like Stevenson certainly gave her a workout:
I was like fighting for my life [while filming fight sequences with Stevenson]. I was talking about that with Dave [Filoni]. I was like, am I gonna be able to talk about how heavy-handed he was? Cause he was just like, woo. I was like I'm really having to protect myself here. We're putting in the work.
As a fan, I’m excited, because it would appear the show gave the late actor some meaningful material to work with. What warms my heart even more, however, is the fact that the production honored him in a direct way. It did so by dropping a caption at the end of the premiere episode. You can see it for yourself:
So far, Ahsoka has received mostly positive reviews from critics, with Ray Stevenson’s performance having been mentioned as one of the bright spots. I’m confident he’ll continue to be a standout as the season progresses. This period of time may be somewhat bittersweet for Rosario Dawson and the cast. But while they surely do miss their colleague, you can imagine that they’re pleased that the masses are able to enjoy one of his final performances.
New episodes of Ahsoka air on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Disney+ as part of the 2023 TV schedule. Anyone who’s enjoying the limited series and is already excited about other fare from the galaxy far, far away can read up on upcoming Star Wars movies and shows.