One of the biggest surprises of The Mandalorian Season One finale was Moff Gideon holding a black lightsaber. Call the Darksaber, this is an ancient weapon used by Mandalorian leaders for a thousand years. But what is the Darksaber?
Originally made by Tarre Vizsla, it is a unique lightsaber made from pure beskar. It was introduced in The Clone Wars and has since reappeared in Rebels, The Mandalorian, and The Book of Boba Fett.
From the origins of the saber to what it could mean for the series, here is everything you need to know about the Darksaber.
Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Clone Wars, Rebels, The Mandalorian, and The Book of Boba Fett. To avoid spoilers, skip ahead to the spoiler-free list Darksaber watchlist.
What Is the Darksaber?
The Darksaber is the ancient lightsaber crafted by the first Mandalorian Jedi, Tarre Vizsla. The hilt is forged entirely of beskar, while the blade is black with an eerie white glow.
Vizsla used the Darksaber to unite the Mandalorian people. However, factions of Mandalorians have splintered in the millennia since. It is believed that the Darksaber can once again reunite Mandalore.
Around the Clone Wars, the saber was used by Pre Vizsla and later Maul in an attempt to take over Mandalore.
Sabine Wren used the Darksaber during the third Mandalorian Civil War, helping to overthrow Gar Saxon and free Mandalore from the Galactic Empire.
Bo-Katan held the Darksaber before the Empire destroyed Mandalore. Moff Gideon then owned it for a time before it passed to Din Djarin, the current owner.
The Darksaber During the Old Republic
Tarre Vizsla joined the Jedi Order around 1050 BBY. Using the Darksaber to unite the people of Mandalore, Vizsla became the first Mand’alor or leader.
When Vizsla died, the Darksaber was kept inside the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. House Vizsla, the descendants of Tarre, stole the saber during the fall of the Old Republic. House Vizsla continued to use the Darksaber as a symbol of leadership for many generations.
Mentioned in The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian, Tarre Vizsla briefly appears in a flashback during Rebels. These events occurred roughly 1050 years before A New Hope.
The Mandalorian Civil War
Also known as the Great Clan Wars, the Mandalorian Civil War took place sometime between 41 and 39 BBY. With Mandalore ravaged by centuries of war and destruction, a growing pacifist movement called the New Mandalorians sought to reform the culture of Mandalore.
Following her father’s death, the newly crowned Duchess Satine Kryze attempted to unite and rebuild Mandalore. A bloody civil war broke out between the New Mandalorians and the traditionalist.
During this time, Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi were assigned to protect Satine. Obi-Wan and Satine grew very close, eventually falling in love. However, Satine eventually left to rule her people, and Obi-Wan remained with the Jedi Order.
The Mandalorians splintered into three main groups, the peaceful New Mandalorians, the traditionalist “Old Mandalorians,” and the rogue traditionalists who evolved into Death Watch.
The “Old Mandalorians spread throughout the galaxy, often working as bounty hunters or mercenaries. The group that eventually became Death Watch settled on the Mandalorian moon of Concordia where they plotted a rebellion against Duchess Satine.
Although referenced in The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian, the events of the Mandalorian Civil War have not yet been seen on screen. These events took place roughly ten years before The Phantom Menace.
The Darksaber During the Clone Wars
By the time of the Clone Wars in 21 BBY, the saber passed to Pre Vizsla. Leader of the Mandalorian terrorist group Death Watch, he planned to overthrow Duchess Satine’s peaceful New Mandalorian movement. Satine’s estranged sister Bo-Katan Kryze and her group of elite Nite Owl warriors were among Vizsla’s followers.
Vizsla convinced Maul’s Shadow Collective to stage attacks on Mandalore, bolstering support for his revolution. However, he ultimately tried to betray Maul and imprisoned him on Mandalore. After escaping, Maul challenged Pre Vizsla for control of Death Watch
Maul then killed Vizsla and claimed the Darksaber as his own. Death Watch split in two, with some Mandalorians remaining loyal to Maul. Others, like Bo-Katan and the Nite Owls, sided with Mandalore.
Fueled by his anger and hate, Maul wanted revenge against Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Sidious. Kenobi defeated Maul in combat on Naboo, cutting him in half. Sidious left Maul to die, taking Dooku as his new apprentice.
Learning of Kenobi’s relationship with Duchess Satine, he used her as bait for Kenobi. He murdered her in front of Obi-Wan, but Kenobi eventually escaped. Darth Sidious then attacked Maul, fearing his former apprentice could prevent him from taking over the galaxy.
After several conflicts, Maul fought Sidious on Dathomir. While he survived the encounter, the Darksaber remained hidden on the planet for nearly twenty years. Still, Maul returned to rule Mandalore.
Near the end of the Clone Wars in 19 BBY, the Republic sent former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano and a contingent of Clone troopers to end Maul’s Seige of Mandalore. Fighting alongside Bo-Katan, Ahsoka liberated Mandalore. Bo-Katan became Regent of Mandalore at the end of the war.
All of these events are depicted in The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars animated series.
The Mandalorian Resistance During the Reign of the Galactic Empire
Shortly after the Republic fell in 19 BBY, Bo-Katan was betrayed by Gar Saxon and Clan Saxon. The clan swore allegiance to the Galactic Empire, with Gar Saxon serving as Viceroy. Refusing to accept Imperial occupation, Bo-Katan became the leader of the Mandalorian resistance.
Sabine Wren of Clan Wren, loyal to Saxon and the Empire, joined the new Imperial Academy on Mandalore sometime before 5 BBY. As a cadet, she created a weapon that targeted beskar, the alloy used in Mandalorian armor.
Realizing the weapon could be used on her people, she spoke out again the Empire. However, her family sided with Saxon and disowned her. Sabine fled Mandalore and lived on the run as a bounty hunter for a time.
Sabine eventually joined Hera Syndulla’s Ghost crew, operating as a rebel cell on Lothal. Other members included Jedi Kanan Jarrus, Kanan’s apprentice Ezra Bridger, the Lasat warrior Zeb, and feisty droid C1-10P “Chopper.” Together, they were known as the Spectres.
Maul led Ezra to the Darksaber on Dathomir in 2 BBY, with Ezra passing the saber to Sabine. Reluctant to wield the saber for a time, she eventually trained with Jedi Kanan Jarrus. After mastering the blade, she left for Mandalore to unite her people against the Empire.
Still considered a traitor, Sabine’s mother Ursa betrayed her daughter to Gar Saxon. Gar and Sabine fought for control of the Darksaber, with Wren eventually forcing Gar to yield.
Regaining the trust of her family, Sabine and Bo-Katan later destroyed the weapon she created while at the Imperial Academy. Afterward, she gave the Darksaber to Bo-Katan. Sabine thought she was the only one that could unite Mandalore against the Empire.
These events are shown on screen during Rebels.
The Great Purge and Night of a Thousand Tears
Sometime around 0 BBY, an impending Mandalorian civil war is on the horizon. The Empire started the Great Purge of Mandalore.
During the Night of a Thousand Tears, the Empired glassed the surface by using fusion bombs to turn the sandy surface into the glass-like trinitite. The Mines of Mandalore were thought destroyed, and the surface was thought to be toxic.
The Empire also stole huge supplies of beskar. Although still unclear when or how, it is believed that Moff Gideon also acquired the Darksaber at this time.
While a few Mandalorians escaped, the Empire committed a near-total genocide. Most of the Mandalorians that escaped were the Children of the Watch, who lived on the Mandalorian moon Concordia.
Din Djarin was raised as a foundling by the Children of the Watch, but we do not know if he lived on Concordia at the time of the purge.
According to legends about the saber, at least some Mandalorians considered these acts punishment for Bo-Katan having accepted the Darksaber without winning it from Sabine.
Flashbacks during The Mandalorian offer glimpses of the Great Purge of Mandalore and Night of a Thousand Tears. These events took place sometime between Rebels and Return of the Jedi.
The Darksaber and The Mandalorian
Din Djarin and Bo-Katan go to rescue Grogu, who was kidnapped by Gideon’s Dark troopers, around 9 ABY. While freeing Grogu, Gideon attacks Djarin with the Darksaber. Using a spear made of pure beskar, Djarin disarms Gideon, who surrenders.
A short time later, while Grogu is training with Luke Skywalker, Din Djarin tries to use the Darksaber in combat while hunting a bounty. However, he struggles with the weapon.
Djarin then trained with Armorer, but soon Paz Vizsla challenged Din for the saber. Vizsla claimed the Darksaber was his birthright since it originated within his clan. Although Din successfully defeated Vizsla, he was ostracized from the culvert when the Armorer learned he had removed his helmet.
In order to redeem himself, he must bathe in the Living Waters in the Mines of Mandalore. However, the mines were thought destroyed, leaving the Living Waters inaccessible.
After helping Boba Fett free Mos Espa, Din travels to Mandalore to redeem himself. However, Din is captured by an unknown cyborg that discards Djarin’s weapons including the Darksaber.
Grogu goes to Bo-Katan for aid, and she frees Din using the Darksaber to kill the cyborg. With the party safe, she returns the Darksaber to Din.
The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett depict these events on screen. It is likely the Darksaber will continue to play a role in future episodes and seasons of The Mandalorian and related stories.
What Does the Darksaber Mean?
The Darksaber is the symbol of the ruler of Mandalore. Tradition holds that it must be won in combat, or its curse will bring ruin to the Mandalorian culture.
Moff Gideon exploits the legend of this curse to prevent Din Djarin from simply handing the saber over to Bo-Katan. Bo-Katan seemingly agrees, possibly feeling guilty about previously accepting the saber from Sabine Wren.
The saber itself is extremely powerful and difficult to control. Sabine Wren practices intensively with Karan to learn how to control it properly, nearly giving up altogether.
Din is seen several times having a hard time controlling the weapon as well. Even after training with the Armorer, he still struggles to maintain control of the Darksaber in combat at times.
With most of Mandalore destroyed and the remaining factions splintered, the Darksaber is likely the only thing that can reunite the remaining clans.
Who Owned The Darksaber
Originally created by Tarre Vizsla, it remained in the hands of House Vizsla for nearly a millennia. However, several people have owned the Darksaber in more recent years.
- Tarre Vizsla (~1050 BBY) – The Mandalorian Jedi who created the saber and united all of Mandalore.
- Pre Vizsla (? – 19 BBY) – A descendant of Tarre that tried to overthrow the Mandalorian government during the Clone Wars.
- Maul (19 BBY) – Darth Sidious’ former Sith apprentice who formed the Shadow Collective crime syndicate and ruled Mandalore for a time.
- Sabine Wren (2 BBY) – A Mandalorian of House Wren that served in the Rebel Alliance.
- Bo-Katan Kryze (2 BBY – ?) – Sister of Duchess Satine of House Kryze and leader of the Nite Owls.
- Moff Gideon (? – 9 ABY) – Now a warlord, Gideon was an Imperial Security Bureau officer during the Great Purge of Mandalore.
- Din Djarin (9 ABY – present) – A Mandalorian bounty hunter of Clan Mudhorn, part of the Children of the Watch religious order.
While they never truly owned it, Erza Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, Ursa Wren, Gar Saxon, and the Armorer all held or used the Darksaber at some point.
Maul initially led Ezra to the saber, while Kanan later researched its origin. Sabine gave the saber to her mother Ursa, who in turn handed it over to Gar Saxon.
Spoiler Free List of Star Wars Episodes To Watch About the Darksaber
- The Clone Wars – Season 2 Episode 12 “The Mandalore Plot”
- The Clone Wars – Season 2 Episode 13 “Voyage of Temptation” [Flashback]
- The Clone Wars – Season 2 Episode 14″Duchess of Mandalore” [Flashback]
- The Clone Wars – Season 4 Episode 14 “A Friend in Need”
- The Clone Wars – Season 5 Episode 14 “Eminence”
- The Clone Wars – Season 5 Episode 15 “Shades of Reason”
- The Clone Wars – Season 5 Episode 16 “The Lawless”
- Rebels – Season 3 Episode 11 “Visions and Voices”
- Rebels – Season 3 Episode 15 “Trials of the Darksaber”
- Rebels – Season 3 Episode 16 “Legacy of Mandalore”
- Rebels – Season 4 Episode 1 “Heroes of Mandalore, Part 1”
- Rebels – Season 4 Episode 2 “Heroes of Mandalore, Part 2”
- The Mandalorian – Season 1 Episode 8 “Chapter 8: Redemption”
- The Mandalorian – Season 2 Episode 3 “Chapter 11: The Heiress” [Mentioned]
- The Mandalorian – Season 2 Episode 6 “Chapter 14: The Tragedy”
- The Mandalorian – Season 2 Episode 8 “Chapter 16: The Rescue”
- The Book of Boba Fett – Season 1 Episode 5 “Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian”
- The Book of Boba Fett – Season 1 Episode 7 “Chapter 7: In the Name of Honor”
- The Mandalorian – Season 3 Episode 1 “Chapter 17: The Apostate” [Mentioned]
- The Mandalorian – Season 3 Episode 2 “Chapter 18: The Mines of Mandalore”
- The Mandalorian – Season 3 Episode 4 “Chapter 20: The Foundling”
- The Mandalorian – Season 3 Episode 6 “Chapter 22: Guns for Hire”
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