When the Darksaber appeared in the finale of The Mandalorian season one, wielded by none other than Moff Gideon (played by actor Giancarlo Esposito), it's safe to say that Star Wars fans let out a collective gasp of excitement. However, this reveal also left viewers with one simple question: how did this legendary weapon end up in the hands of the Empire?
Well, we have the answer. Join us as we dive into the fascinating history of the Darksaber.
Those who are familiar with The Clone Wars, an animated series set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, will know that the Darksaber made its first appearance in the second season of the show — during an episode called “The Mandalore Plot.” At the time, the weapon belonged to Pre Vizsla, the leader of the Mandalorian terrorist organization Death Watch.
Designed for the show with the help of George Lucas, the Darksaber was intended to rival any lightsaber. Dave Filoni (a key creative figure) decided that it should also hold significance to the Mandalorian people.
From this simple idea, Tarre Vizsla was born.
The first ever Mandalorian accepted into the Jedi Order, Tarre Vizsla invented the black-bladed lightsaber. Long after his death, House Vizsla continued to use this weapon as symbol of their leadership over the people of Mandalore.
The Clone Wars
As mentioned, Tarre Vizsla’s descendent Pre Vizsla inherited the Darksaber. However, the lightsaber fell into the hands of the former Sith Lord Darth Maul after he defeated the Death Watch leader in single combat. Claiming leadership over Mandalore, Maul would go on to use the weapon for the remainder of The Clone Wars.
Star Wars Rebels, which takes place after the events of Revenge of the Sith but prior to A New Hope, Maul was still in possession of the Darksaber. He stored it on his home planet, Dathomir, until it was taken by a Mandalorian called Sabine Wren.
Trained by the Kanan Jarrus, a Jedi survivor of Order 66, Sabine became a skilled user of the blade. She had a natural claim of ownership due to her being a member of Clan Wren, which was part of House Vizsla. Her claim became indisputable after she defeated Imperial Governor Gar Saxon, who had taken the Darksaber from her, in a duel.
Despite Sabine being the rightful owner, she relinquished the lightsaber to Bo-Katan, the sister of the previous ruler. Consequently, Bo-Katan also became the leader of Mandalore.
This brings us full circle to the start of the blog.
Moff Gideon became the new owner, brandishing the weapon openly in The Mandalorian — its first live-action appearance. Nevertheless, Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) was committed to reclaiming it so as to cement her position as ruler of Mandalore.
Though the Darksaber would eventually be claimed by a Mandalorian in the second season of The Mandalorian, it was not Bo-Katan but Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) who became its owner. “Mando,” as Djarin was also known, offered it to her freely. But she refused. Unless she reclaimed it by defeating her opponent in one-on-one combat, it could never be truly hers.
Sadly, we don’t know what’s next for the iconic weapon. We’ll have to wait until future seasons of The Mandalorian to find out.
More Than a Blade
As well as being an effective weapon of war, the Darksaber gives off quite a glow. Check out the Darksaber Table Lamp on Ukonic, and head on over to Zavvi US or Zavvi UK for even more Star Wars products.
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