Baylan Is Starkiller’s Real Canon Replacement – Star Wars Theory Explained

Warning! This article contains SPOILERS for Ahsoka episode 4.


  • Ahsoka episode 4 reveals that the Inquisitor Marrok is not the new canon version of Starkiller, but rather a Nightsister magick puppet controlled by Morgan Elsbeth.
  • Baylan Skoll may be the missing Sith apprentice of Darth Vader, explaining why Vader never trained anyone to help him take down Palpatine in canon.
  • Baylan’s knowledge of Vader’s secret identity and history suggests that he was indeed Vader’s apprentice and holds a unique connection to both Vader and Ahsoka.

Despite the late Ray Stevenson’s commanding presence as Baylan Skoll in the Ahsoka series, most theories for the show have been directed at Sam Witwer’s supposed return as Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, Starkiller. Starkiller—whose real name is Galen Marek—was created by Haden Blackman for The Force Unleashed 2008 video game series. Now a part of Legends, Starkiller was a secret apprentice Vader took under his wing before the events of A New Hope. Initially, not even Palpatine was aware that Vader was attempting to train Starkiller to help him usurp Palpatine and take the galaxy for himself.

Many expected the mysterious Inquisitor Marrok to be unmasked as the new canon version of Starkiller, but Filoni had other ideas. Ahsoka episode 4 revealed Marrok’s true identity as nothing more than a Nightsister magick puppet, most likely created by Morgan Elsbeth to assist in the hunt for Thrawn. Many Nightsisters possess the ability of reanimation—as seen in The Clone Wars and Jedi: Fallen Order video game—implying that Marrok may have an Inquisitor who’d died but was reanimated by Elsbeth. In any case, though some are disappointed that he didn’t turn out to be Starkiller, showrunner Dave Filoni may have already given the audience a new secret apprentice of Vaders.

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George Lucas Always Believed Darth Vader Tried To Take Other Apprentices

Baylan Skoll might have been an apprentice of Darth Vader. In Legends, Vader followed the Sith idea of attempting to overthrow the Sith Master by training Starkiller to help him take on the Emperor. But in canon, Vader uncharacteristically hasn’t tried to train anyone to help him take down Palpatine. Vader had the Inquisitors to train, but that was more of a distraction Palpatine assigned him to oversee. None of the Inquisitors showed enough potential to challenge Palpatine, and Vader knew this. Still, it seems strange how Vader never bothered to take on an apprentice in canon.

Baylan Skoll seems to be the answer to the problem of Vader’s missing Sith apprentice in canon. Sometime between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Vader found and converted Baylan to the dark side and trained him as an apprentice. This lines up with George Lucas’ belief in Vader taking on more apprentices long before he sought after Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. Both Baylan and Anakin were once Jedi who fell away from the Order and sought power elsewhere. Not all the details are clear yet on why Vader chose Baylan, but the pieces of the puzzle fit.

Baylan Knows Far Too Much About Darth Vader’s True Identity

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader from the season finale of Obi-Wan Kenobi

The biggest giveaway that Baylan was Vader’s apprentice is Baylan’s knowledge about Vader’s secret. Not only does he know about Anakin Skywalker and his fall to the dark side, but he also knows about Ahsoka’s history with Anakin as well. Vader’s true identity wasn’t public knowledge. In fact, only a dozen or so characters knew that Anakin and Vader were one and the same. Vader’s identity was revealed publicly to the galaxy just six years before The Force Awakens in 28ABY, meaning Baylan could not possibly have known who Vader was without having known him personally.

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It’s quite possible Baylan merely fought alongside Anakin during the Clone Wars, or that he may have sided with Vader for a time during the Empire’s reign. But neither of these theories explain how he knows about Anakin, or why Ahsoka has never heard of or met Baylan. Similar to Reva Sevander from Obi-Wan Kenobi, Baylan must have escaped Order 66 with the knowledge that Anakin was the one who’d betrayed the Jedi. Alternatively, Vader himself may have told him about his past, or enough for Baylan to put the pieces together on his own.

Did Darth Vader Consider Baylan As An Apprentice?

Sabine debating whether to give the map Baylan Skoll in Ahsoka episode 4

Vader was fiercely protective of his identity. If Baylan was Vader’s apprentice and knew about Anakin Skywalker’s history, he must have meant something to Vader. Similarly to most Sith, Vader likely saw Baylan as a mere tool. Like Starkiller, Baylan existed only to help him overthrow Palpatine and complete covert missions Vader could not do himself. And because of the mystery surrounding him, it’s possible no one—not even Palpatine—knew of Baylan’s existence while Vader trained him. Vader may not have even officially given him a title. This explains why almost no one knows about Baylan, but why Baylan knows about everyone.

Sam Witwer’s voice credit role in Ahsoka has yet to be uncovered, but it’s at least clear he’s not Marrok. In any case, while Starkiller may not be a part of the Ahsoka series, Baylan may reveal himself to be Vader’s new canon secret apprentice. While Ahsoka walked away from Anakin Skywalker before he turned into Darth Vader, Baylan joined Darth Vader after he abandoned Anakin Skywalker. This theory would make them uniquely tied to one another, as they both trained under the same man. Baylan’s full backstory has yet to be revealed in Ahsoka, but he clearly has some sort of tie to Vader and Anakin.

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Ahsoka releases new episodes Tuesdays at 6pm PT / 9pm ET on Disney+.

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