“What I seek is the beginning, so I may finally bring this cycle to an end.”
Ahsoka‘s Baylan Skoll isn’t interested in ruling like Thrawn. The former Jedi Knight has a far more ambitious goal, one that will free the galaxy from war between Jedi and Sith. He believes the power he needs to achieve his plan can be found Peridea, but what exactly is “the beginning” he seeks on that ancient wasteland? If the old fairytales are true, Baylan Skoll might be looking for the very source of the Force itself. Here’s everything we know about who Baylan Skoll is, his role as an Ahsoka antagonist, and his place in the greater Star Wars universe.
Who Was Baylan Skoll Before Ahsoka?
Before Ahsoka, Baylan Skoll was a young Jedi Knight and General in the Clone Wars. He was roughly the same age as Anakin Skywalker during the galactic conflict.
Somehow Baylan Skoll not only survived Order 66, he learned what became of Anakin. Few people ever discovered Anakin Skywalker was Darth Vader. Knowing what became of the most famous Jedi and Anakin’s role in destroying the Order changed Baylan Skoll’s entire outlook on life.
Why Did Anakin Skywalker Cause Baylan Skoll to Lose His Faith?
Baylan Skoll lost his “faith” in the Jedi. Their failures during the Clone Wars, combined with Anakin’s role in causing so much horror, destroyed Baylan’s entire belief system. Baylan Skoll still misses “the idea” of what the Order was supposed to be as guardians of peace and justice. He wishes the Jedi had lived up to its best ideals, which he still sees as noble. It’s why, on Ahsoka, Baylan Skoll has shown an unexpected amount of reverence for the Jedi, including for Ahsoka Tano herself.
Still, he doesn’t miss “the truth” of what the Jedi became. Baylan Skoll said that “weakness” is the real Jedi legacy, one shared by Anakin and Ahsoka. It’s a legacy of arrogance and rigid dogma that resulted in death and destruction. He believes Jedi failure was so ingrained in the Order that when Baylan Skoll fought Ahsoka, he called their battle “inevitable” because Jedi only know violence.
The warrior believed in the Jedi so much the pain over what they became still hurts. The only time Baylan Skoll ever showed real emotion on Ahsoka is when he got angry while fighting Lady Tano, and when he made clear he’s no longer a Jedi. However, his obvious hatred for Anakin Skywalker and comments about the Empire also indicates he has no love for Sith, either.
Would Baylan Skoll have lost his faith completely if he had never learned about Anakin Skywalker’s fate? We don’t know and probably never can. What is clear is that knowledge sent Baylan down a path few others have ever walked.
Is Baylan Skoll a Grey Jedi or Sith?
Baylan Skoll is “no Jedi.” But despite murdering people in cold blood, he’s not like a Sith Lord, either. He has ethics and is not seeking power for his own benefit. Baylan thinks war is “evil” even if necessary. He also keeps his word (to a point) with captured enemies and doesn’t kill unless he thinks he must. And he wants something better for the galaxy than what the Jedi and Sith have given it.
Baylan Skoll has his own moral compass that puts him somewhere between the Jedi and the Sith on Ahsoka. He’s pragmatic rather than having a strict ideology. His approach is Machiavellian, where the ends justify the means, because he believes “one must destroy in order to create.”
What he seems to want to create is a future free of the death and destruction that burned down everything he’d ever known.
Baylan Skoll would seem to stand along the proverbial middle point between light and dark. That, along with his orange lightsaber, has led to some to ask if he qualifies as a Gray Jedi. The concept of a Jedi who straddles the light and dark sides of the Force comes from Star Wars Legends. It’s not part of Disney canon, and some don’t even believe Gray Jedi ever existed, and the term is meaningless.
Therefore, Baylan Skoll is not a Gray Jedi because they aren’t a thing. He only shares a few similarities with that nebulous definition anyway. He’s something else entirely, something that makes him one of the most interesting and unique Force users in Star Wars history. He’s a powerful, practical warrior who believes it doesn’t matter whether Jedi or Sith rule the galaxy because the existence of both means war is always on the horizon. That is unless he can end the cycle forever.
That quest is what brought him to Peridea.
What Is “The Beginning” Baylan Skoll Seeks on Ahsoka?
Baylan Skoll did not go to a distant wasteland just to bring back Thrawn. Baylan Skoll went to Peridea, a “land of dreams and madness,” because it calls out to him. Something “stirs” in the Nightsisters’ original home. Whatever that is, it’s powerful enough the Great Mothers want to flee Peridea.
Baylan Skoll doesn’t fear what he hears in Ahsoka‘s distant galaxy. He wants to use that immense power to end the vicious, inevitable cycle of war Jedi and Sith have created in his own galaxy. To do that, he seeks “the beginning,” and the Jedi and Sith began with the Force during a time when the Pathway to Peridea first opened.
Baylan’s plan—driven by a desire to end the Jedi, Sith, and possibly even other Force users and the galaxy they’ve created—raises monumental questions about all of Star Wars. Is Peridea where the Force began? The very center of it? Or is it simply where Jedi and Sith first discovered that immense power? And what would it mean if Baylan Skoll found “the beginning” of the Force, which exists everywhere, on Ahsoka? How could someone even destroy something that powerful and omnipresent, something every living thing carries inside them? Or could it be the Great Mothers are fleeing their planet because the Force is becoming too powerful for everyone? Something too dark even for them? Something that would destroy Baylan Skoll if he locates it in Ahsoka‘s finale?
The future of the galaxy far, far away hangs in the balance on Peridea, but not because Thrawn is back. The Grand Admiral seeks a power that is fleeting. Baylan Skoll is on a very different path, one that he must walk alone without his apprentice Shin Hati. He let her go to earn her position in the new Empire while he seeks something that predates the Jedi and the Sith. It’s something Baylan believes will put an end to both forever.
Originally published on September 20, 2023.