While, the true origins of Baron Samedi is unknown as to when exactly and where exactly he originated from, as there is no figure similar to him in West African folklore. But, when Haitian Vodou sprung up upon the island of Hispaniola (Modernday Haiti and Dominican Republic), the Baron was amongst one of the many deity-like loa that were praised.
The patriarch of the Ghede family of death loa, Baron Samedi is the main loa of the dead. He dresses in the suit of a dead man, bares skeletal face-paint (if he's not depicted as a skeleton), and is the head of the Crossroads that connect life and death. He walks the realms, and guides the dead over to the afterlife. Perhaps he could be a alternative version of the Yoruba god-like Orisha Eleggua, who is also a spirit of the Crossroads.
Personality and Role
Baron Samedi is actually the darker side of the loa Papa Ghede, the true head of the Ghede house of death loas. Where, Ghede is more of a benevolent being, who guides the dead and watches over those close to death, Baron Samedi is more of a trickster and outrageous figure. He smokes and drinks endlessly, he loves dancing, making crude and foul jokes, being loud and assertively playful. The Baron is even known to possess mortals to enjoy festive gatherings. Even in situations that would be unfit for his antics, he persist in his joys.
He is a loa of magic and resurrections, life as much as death. This is why he is as lively as he is; choosing to live life to the fullest. He is married to Maman Brigitte, even though he commits adultery with mortal women on a regular bases. For all of his trickster ways, he actually enjoys mortals for the life that they possess, and longs to teach them the value of living. He could heal those who are near death. The Baron is also attested as the reason bodies rot in the ground, to prevent zombies from sprinting up. People would pray to Baron Samedi, as it was said that one could not die, unless the Baron dug their grave.
He is the father of Baron La Crox, Baron Kriminal, and Baron Cimetière, who all possess their own personality as aspects of death. Yet, all of his children are only incarations of himself.
Princess & the Frog
The primary antagonist of the film, Doctor Facilier draws visual influence from the infamous Loa of the dead Baron Samedi. He wears a top hat with a purple feather in it and a skull and crossbones on it; the skull can be magically removed and change into a skull make-up as shown in his song, "Friends on the other side". Facilier wears mostly purple and black in his clothing, which are the ritualistic colors of Baron Samedi.
Baron Samedi, an agent of AIM, had a base in Haiti beneath a graveyard. With their Mind-Mechanism, AIM gathered local people and transformed them into zombie-like creatures. They then went on raids of local factories. On one of the raids, one of the zuvembies was captured, and recognized as the dead brother of the plant's owner.
Brother Voodoo was alerted to Samedi's raids, and viewed the captured zuvembie, and a pathologist from the United Nations was summoned to Haiti to examine him.
As the pathologist arrived in Haiti, agents sent by Samedi attempted to kidnap him, but Brother Voodoo arrived and defeated them.
The pathologist recognized some of the dirt on the zuvembie as coming from a grave, and so, Brother Voodoo journeyed to the local cemetery. There, he fought Samedi's army of zuvembies, and was defeated by their sheer numbers.
Brother Voodoo then found himself strapped to the Mind-Mechanism. Samedi explained what AIM had been up to, and used the device on him, so that he would join his army of zuvembies. However, Brother Voodoo feigned compliance, while a lizard under his control chewed through the machine's wires. Destroying the Mind-Mechanism freed the zuvembies and Brother Voodoo ordered them to the surface. Samedi tried desperately to kill Brother Voodoo, but a stray blast from his staff accidentally brought down the Mind-Mechanism upon himself, crushing him. The entire base then collapsed.
Baron Samedi and his wife appear in the fifth episode of the second season of American Gods, "The Way of the Dead". In the episode, after being undead for longer than she liked, Laura is taken to New Orleans by Mad Sweeney to meet his old friends, the Ghede patriarch. Seeking to return to the living, she askes the death god to resurrect her. However, being the tricksters that they are, the two death loas play with their visitors, revealing unknown and unwanted truths to them. It aired on April 7, 2019, an he was played by Mustafa Shakir.
American Horror Story
In 2013 Lance Reddick portrayed Papa Legba in American Horror Story: Coven, where the character is depicted wearing a top hat and black tuxedo jacket, more in keeping with one of Baron Samedi than Papa Legba. This depiction is of a crossroads demon rather than the loa of communication. He is even portrayed as a death loa, as Samedi is, rather than the messenger loa of Legba.
In the season, he is the one would Maria Laveau sold her soul to for immortality. In turn, he askes of annual sacrifices of innocent souls. Being portrayed as more maleficent and sadistic in the series, he is still a fair and honest figure, he explained clearly and honestly his terms of granting immortality to Fiona when she asked for details.
Cloak & Dagger
Baron Samedi appears in the second season of Marvel's Cloak and Dagger, portrayed by Justin Sams.