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Rest In Peace, Ray Stevenson: Looking Back At The Late Actor's 5 Most Memorable Roles

Gone, but not Forgotten.

By Kristy AndersonPublished 4 months ago 5 min read

On May 21, 2023, actor Ray Stevenson was rushed to Hospital from the set of his latest film, Cassino In Ischia, before sadly passing away at the age of just 58. Stevenson was a talented actor, appearing in major roles across many films and shows of varying genres, and definitely had his fans, but most would have considered him a step outside Hollywood's A-List.. Someone who was known, but not necessarily a household name.

This was looking set to change, with Stevenson jumping into the Star Wars universe as Dark Jedi Baylan Skoll, one of the villains of the Ahsoka series, set to drop on Disney Plus in August. Stevenson's character was already receiving positive fan feedback from the series' first trailer alone, making his loss, just as his star was rising higher, all the more heartbreaking.

In celebration of Ray Stevenson's life, let's look at some of his most memorable roles.

1. Titus Pullo (Rome)

Between 2005 and 2007, Stevenson starred as roguish Roman soldier Titus Pullo in the HBO series Rome, alongside Kevin McKidd as the more traditional and higher ranking Lucius Vorenus. While Pullo and Vorenus are both real-life minor historical figures, Rome's fictionalised account imagines the two having a a greater influence over the series events, such as the assasination of Julius Caesar and the power struggle that follows his death. Through his association with Lucius, Pullo develops a greater sense of integrity and responsibility for his actions. For example, the final episodes detail Pullo's bid to whisk his son Caesarion (historically assumed to be the son of Cleopatra and Caesar) out of reach of Emperor Octavian, who will kill him as a possible threat to his rule.

While the sometimes complicated storylines of Rome earned mixed reviews as the series went on, the performances were always considered top-tier, including Stevenson as Pullo. At one point, a film was planned to wrap up the series dangling plot threads, but this has never come to pass, and with Stevenson's death, probably never will.

2. Frank Castle/The Punisher (Punisher: War Zone)

When Thomas Jane chose not to reprise his leading role as brutal vigilante Frank Castle in a sequel to 2004's The Punisher, production company Lionsgate were forced to hunt for a new Frank. Shortly after Jane's departure, Ray Stevenson was cast as Frank Castle in the film that eventually became Punisher: War Zone. The film sees The Punisher continue his war on crime and corruption, going toe-to-toe with disfigured Mob Boss Billy Russotti, also known as Jigsaw.

Stevenson read every issue of The Punisher MAX comics for inspiration, as well as undergoing extensive Martial Arts and weapons training for the role. Unfortunately, while Stevenson's performance was appreciated, the film as a whole was not. Punisher: War Zone was savaged by critics upon it's release in 2008, and to date remains the lowest grossing film based on a Marvel property. Thankfully, with the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Stevenson eventually got a second chance at making a more positive mark on the Marvel world.

3. Volstagg ('Thor' series)

In July 2009, Stevenson joined the cast of Thor, the fourth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Stevenson played Volstagg, a member of the legendary Warriors Three and one of Thor's closest friends. While Stevenson did wear a fat suit for the role, Volstagg's size was toned down significantly from the comics, for practical reasons. The actor reprised the role of Volstagg in Thor's first two sequels, helping Thor and a captive Loki escape Asgard in, Thor: The Dark World, before tragically dying at the hands of Hela in Thor: Ragnarok.

Despite Volstagg's death, the reveal of Valhalla, the Asgardian Warrior afterlife, as a real place in the mid-credits scene of Thor: Love and Thunder, gave fans hope that characters like Volstagg could reappear in the future. While that is still possible, it will no longer be Stevenson filling the character's big shoes, a difficult blow for the surviving cast. Stevenson's Thor co-star Jaime Alexander, who plays Lady Sif, a fellow warrior and regular companion of the Warriors Three, was among the first to post a condolence message when news of the actor's death broke.

4. Gar Saxon ('Star Wars: The Clone Wars' and 'Star Wars: Rebels'

Before being cast in the live-action role of Baylan Skoll in Ahsoka, Ray Stevenson voiced the Mandalorian villain Gar Saxon. Saxon first appeared in Star Wars: Rebels, before his past was explored in the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

While most Mandalorians in the Star Wars universe are portrayed as heroes, anti-heroes, or at least possessing a moral code driving them to act in the interests of their fellow Mandalorians, Gar Saxon is one of the few to be portrayed as purely an antagonist, acting only for his own chance at power. During his first chronological appearance in The Clone Wars, Saxon is a high ranking member of Darth Maul's Shadow Collective, facing off against Bo-Katan Kryze in her efforts to free Mandalore from Maul's influence. By the time of Rebels, Saxon rules the remaining Mandalorian people as an Imperial puppet, until Sabine Wren's arrival with the Darksaber leads to his downfall.

Thanks to his memorable voice role, it is easy to believe Producers already had Stevenson in mind when casting Baylan Skoll.

5. Baylan Skoll ('Ahsoka')

While it hasn't been released yet, Ray Stevenson's now posthumous appearance in Ahsoka is sure to be counted among his most memorable roles. Stevenson will play Baylan Skoll, a Dark Jedi and one of the series major villains. The concept of Dark Jedi, previously relegated to 'Legends' status after Disney's purchase of LucasFilm, is one fans have been eager to see returned to canon status, and they were mostly pleased with the casting of Stevenson after seeing Ahsoka's first trailer.

While it is heartbreaking to have lost him so soon, there is some small comfort in the fact that we will see this talented actor on screen one last time.

Rest in Peace, Ray.

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About the Creator

Kristy Anderson

Passionate About all things Entertainment!

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