Lightsabers are an icon in Star Wars, and behind each of the Jedi weapons is a story or a unique meaning. But there is a “lightsaber” with a stranger and more complicated story than almost any other – and it just so happens that this weapon appears in the final moments of Mandalorian Season 1.
[Ed. Note: This post contains spoilers for the entire first season of The Mandalorian.]
In the last scene from Chapter 8, we see Moff Gideon lighting a lightsaber with a black blade. Fans of the expanded Star Wars universe know this very well: the weapon is called Darksaber and was one of the most valuable weapons and artifacts of Mandalorian culture before Gideon.
Obi-Wan Kenobi fights Pre Vizsla, owner of the DarksaberImage: Lucasfilm
The Dark Saber was created during the rule of the Old Republic by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian to ever join the Jedi order. The saber itself was different from any other lightsaber at that time or since. The blade is angled like a standard sword. Its emitter was small and thin and mimicked a sword blade again. He can also parry other lightsabers. The Darksaber has a unique black blade and is significantly shorter than most lightsabers, although its size and intensity may change due to the feelings of its owner.
The appointment of Tarre Vizsla as the first Mandalorian Jedi was a sign of a brief peace between the two constantly belligerent factions. When Tarre Vizsla finally became Mand’alor, the ruler of Mandalore, he took the dark saber back to his home planet. The Jedi Order collected the lightsaber after his death and kept it in the Jedi Temple. The weapon was then stolen from the temple by the Mandalorians of the Vizsla clan during the fall of the Old Republic.
Upon returning to Mandalorian possession, the Darksaber became an important status symbol in Mandalorian society. The owner of the saber was largely considered the rightful leader of the Vizsla clan, one of the largest clans in the world, and the leader of the Death Watch mercenary group. According to Mandalorian cultural tradition, the only way to become the master of the dark saber was to win him over from his previous owner.
This rule of strength eventually led to a very specific complication in the form of Darth Maul, which appeared on Mandalore at the time of the Clone Wars. Maul challenged Pre Vizsla, owner of the Dark Saber and leader of the Death Guard, to a duel. When Maul won, the Darksaber would be.
Pre VizslaImage: Lucasfilm
Losing the dark-saber and accompanying leadership to a non-Mandalorian was too much for some of the proud warrior races to move away from Maul’s Mandalorian rule and to follow Duchess Satine Kryze, who brought them closer to the traditions of the pacifist New Mandalorians. This threw Mandalore into a state of civil war.
Maul later killed Satine with the Darksaber, but soon after the former Sith Lord fell into the hands of General Grievous and Darth Sidious. Neither of these were interested in the dark saber, so he was simply left on Dathomir, where the fight ended.
Mouth with the Darksaber against Darth Sidious Image: Lucasfilm
A few years later, in the days of the Galactic Empire, Sabine Wren, a Mandalorian weapons expert, found the dark saber on Dathomir. Sabine trained the handling of the saber under the guidance of Ezra Bridger and later the Jedi Kanan Jarrus. When Sabine returned to Mandalore to prevent the empire from killing all remaining Mandalorians with a weapon she had made, Sabine used the Darksaber against the imperial soldiers.
Sabine Wren with the Darksaber on MandaloreImage: Lucasfilm
After Sabine has pushed back the empire, she hands the dark saber over to Bo-Katan Kryze, the sister of Duchess Satine, and the rightful ruler of the Mandalore. This was the last known owner and location of the dark saber until Gideon appears with him in this episode of The Mandalorian.
This means that there is approximately eight years of Darksaber history that are not taken into account. Fortunately, Moff Gideon himself helps to fill these gaps by explaining them to the Mandalorian – whom we call Dyn Jaren in this episode. According to the two, Gideon is an official of the Imperial Security Bureau who appears to be particularly interested in Mandalorian culture.
It seems that Gideon was also involved in cleaning up Mandalore and the Night of 1000 Tears when the Empire devastated most of the Mandalorian homeworld. Gideon also learns Dyn’s name from the opponents of Mandalore, the secret record of Mandalorian identities.
If Gideon gathers the names of the remaining Mandalorians and is obsessed with their warrior culture, it is likely that he took the Dark Saber away from Mandalore during the purge. In addition to chasing remaining Mandalorians for the remains of the empire, it is now also possible for Gideon to try to prove his legitimate possession of the dark saber. After all, if it is a Mandalorian weapon that can only be earned through fighting. If he kills all Mandalorians, it could only be his.
Whatever Gideon’s plan is, it seems clear that he will be chasing both Dyn Jaren and Baby Yoda in season two of the show. And with the unveiling of the Dark Saber, Jin will have a powerful new weapon that he can be content with and maybe even use himself.