Rest in Peace To A Career That Spanned Genres
This past Monday, May 22nd, 2023 Marvel and Star Wars fans lost another great actor from their beloved franchises. Ray Stevenson, most notably known for his role in the Thor movies as Volstagg and as Gar Saxon in Rebels, passed away.
Marvelous Beginnings: From Punisher to Warrior
Ray Stevenson began his early career in television until Thomas Jane left The Punisher sequel leaving an opening. Stevenson was picked to play the titular character in Punisher: War Zone. He brought a gruff intensity to The Punisher against Dominic West’s portrayal of Jigsaw. Stevenson, in great humor, even went on to join an episode of The Super Hero Squad Show called “Night in the Sanctorum!” as the Punisher. He must have developed a positive relationship with Marvel because he was asked to return only two years later in 2011 as a different character in the first Thor film. He portrayed the burly and fun Volstagg, one of the warriors three who fights alongside Thor. He would go on to make appearances in all four Thor movies (the fourth being archive footage), one of the few actors to be in all four, joined only by Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, and Tadanobu Asano as Hogun, another one of the warriors three. He brought joy to generally serious films playing as Volstagg, usually seen eating, adding a unique presence to the grim stories of the Norse gods.
An Impact: The Antagonistic Quality of a Great Actor
For non-Marvel fans, Stevenson has also made a mark on plenty of other media. In the comedy realm, Stevenson joined Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg for The Other Guys as the villain of the duo detective comedy. In 2013, Stevenson joined the G.I. Joe franchise in Retaliation as the hardened Firefly where he gave an explosive performance as another classic villain. In the Divergent movie series, Stevenson played Tobias’ father, Marcus, for all three films where he had a mostly negative role in defining the secondary main character. Even in one of his most well-known roles, Stevenson gave a chilling performance as the famed Blackbeard in the series Black Sails. Despite playing mostly villains, Stevenson sunk his heart into intense characters that provided depth to the stories they joined. Just this past year, he even joined the cast of the new Indian film RRR as the antagonist Governor Scott Buxton which has received immense praise. He is quoted saying “Nobody wakes up in the morning thinking, ‘I’m a bad guy.’ They think they’re the right guy.” which derives proof of his understanding of his roles as villains that is hard to come by.
What Next: A Powerful Upcoming Final Hurrah
In 2016, Stevenson gave his voice to the beloved Star Wars franchise in the show Star Wars: Rebels for the character Gar Saxon. He earned immense praise from fans of the show for delivering a brilliant antagonist to showrunner Sabine Wren. In the arc where Sabine must reclaim her home planet of Mandalore, she faces off against Gar Saxon in an intense duel where he challenges her mind, body, and spirit. Stevenson gives the true spirit to that duel and arc with his presentation of dialogue. He would return for Clone Wars Season 7 as the same character earlier in time before ruling Mandalore. Similarly to Marvel, the Star Wars team must have been impressed because they cast him as an antagonist for the highly anticipated Ahsoka series. He joins a respected cast of live-action versions of formerly animated characters, himself portraying a new character known as Baylan Skoll. In the trailer, he dons a white beard and an intense crossguard red lightsaber, dueling the main character for one scene. As a final role for the actor, it is a fittingly intense and exciting villain in an important series that will cement Stevenson as a beloved actor for fans of all kinds.
Catch Stevenson one final time on Disney Plus where Ahsoka will premiere on August 31st, 2023.
Ahsoka 2023 Disney Plus Official Trailer
|I am a Film student at Stetson University in Florida. I am a screenplay writer and filmmaker with a heart for storytelling. I discovered a love for film at a young age and am working hard every day to expand my deeper knowledge of technique and detail. Currently, I am on the team in charge of Spooky Empire in Orlando in October, so I spend a lot of time around the horror genre.|