The Mandalorian Darksaber explained: the story behind the dangerous Star Wars weapon

Alyssa Mercante
·4-min read
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There's been some talk about the Darksaber in The Mandalorian season 2, episode 3, which has left some fans wondering about the mysterious blade's origins. Before Moff Gideon cut himself free using the katana-like weapon in the season 1 ending, the Darksaber had made various appearances in canon. Indeed, the Darksaber has a long history in the Star Wars universe and is tied heavily to the fate of the Mandalorians and their home planet Mandalore.

So, why does Bo-Katan want to get the Darksaber back? How did the evil Moff Gideon come into possession of the Darksaber? What is the mystery weapon's history in the Star Wars universe? And how does the Darksaber tie The Mandalorian, as well as the animated shows The Clone Wars and Rebels? Here’s everything you need to know about the Darksaber.

History of The Darksaber

Pre Vizsla with the Darksaber in Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Pre Vizsla with the Darksaber in Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The Darksaber is the only lightsaber of its kind in the entire Star Wars galaxy. The blade is a deep, almost impossible black, with a glowing white light around it. A strange, low hum emits from the Darksaber when it's ignited. 

The Darksaber is an incredibly important, ancient piece of Mandalorian history. It was created by the first Mandalorian Jedi, Tarre Vizsla, during the Old Republic's rule. For reference, events that happened during the Old Republic took place thousands of years before the Star Wars films – so yes, that ancient.

Tarre Vizsla eventually became the ruler of Mandalore – the  ruler of the planet is confusingly known as the Mand'alor – and brought the Darksaber back to the planet. It was collected by the Jedi and stored in the Jedi Temple upon Tarre Vizsla's death, but it was stolen back by members of Clan Vizsla as the Old Republic fell. Traditionally, whoever wields the Darksaber is considered the rightful ruler of Mandalore, which explains why the weapon changes hands so often throughout history.

That's why we'll need to do some back-tracking in order to figure out how Moff Gideon got his hands on this ancient Mandalorian weapon.

How did Moff Gideon get the Darksaber?

Sabine Wren with the Darksaber in Star Wars Rebels
Sabine Wren with the Darksaber in Star Wars Rebels

The Darksaber belonged to many beings through the Old Republic period, to the events of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, and beyond. 

During the Clone Wars, Pre Vizsla – a descendent of Tarre Vizsla and leader of the Mandalorian splinter group Death Watch – wielded the blade to rally his people against Duchess Satine Kryze. In an incredibly poor judgment call, Pre Vizsla teamed up with Darth Maul, who ultimately challenged him to ritualistic combat for the Darksaber and leadership of Death Watch. Maul won. 

When Darth Maul returns to his home planet of Dathomir, he's attacked by Darth Sidious and General Grievous, and uses the Darksaber in battle. Maul quite literally tosses the Darksaber aside after the fight, further proving the weapon was just a means to an end for the sith Lord. After this, the Darksaber ends up in the gnarled hands of the Nightsisters of Dathomir towards the end of the Clone Wars. 

A few years later, Sabine Wren found it in a Nighsister lair on Dathomir, and was trained by Jedi Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger in how to use it. She led Mandalore in a fight against the Empire, who tried to eradicate what was left of the Mandalorians. After defeating the Empire, Sabine gave the Darksaber to Bo-Katan Kryze (Duchess Satine's sister), who became the rightful ruler of Mandalore. If you want some more details or clarification on these Clone Wars/Rebels events before The Mandalorian season 2, check out our nifty little guide on which episodes to watch right here

Bo-Katan was the last known wielder of the Darksaber before Moff Gideon got his grubby hands on it – that's a decade of the weapon's history that we know nothing about. Well, we do know a little. Moff Gideon is an Imperial Bureau Security officer who has a unique obsession with Mandalorian culture. He was involved in the Purge of Mandalore, which greatly reduced the population of Mandalorians and forced them to go into hiding. 

What to expect from The Mandalorian season 2 

Bo-Katan Kryze in Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Bo-Katan Kryze in Star Wars: The Clone Wars

You can expect to see more of Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian season 2, as he relentlessly pursues Din Djarin and The Child, wielding an ancient weapon from Din Djarin's home planet.

We've also now seen Bo-Katan Kryze, the last known person to wield the Darksaber, on Gideon's tracks, hoping to get back the blade. Katie Sackoff (who portrays Bo-Katan in The Clone Wars and Rebels) plays Bo-Katan in The Mandalorian season 2. Whether she'll be able to successfully track down Gideon remains to be seen – Mando's on the way to another ally in the meantime, and they may prove key to bringing Bo-Katan back into Mando's path.