Did the very end of The Mandalorian season finale leave you scratching your head? Well, your Disney+ subscription has the answers.
The season one finale of The Mandalorian, “Redemption,” ended with the evil Moff Gideon using a mysterious object to cut himself out of his downed TIE fighter. That object, familiar to some, was almost certainly a mystery to many others.
That object is The Darksaber, an ancient Mandalorian weapon conceived by Dave Filoni and George Lucas during Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It then came back in Filoni’s second show, Star Wars Rebels, before now appearing for the first time in live-action on Filoni’s third show, The Mandalorian.
You can read a brief primer on The Darksaber in our recap linked above, or even watch a 90-second clip about it at this link from the Star Wars Rebels 3 Blu-ray set.
BUT. If you really want to get up to speed on all things Darksaber, below are seven episodes of The Clone Wars, and five episodes of Rebels, you can watch to get caught up. They’re all on Disney+ and the titles link to the specific episode.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The Deathwatch Crisis (Season 2, Episodes 13-15): “The Mandalore Plot”, “Voyage of Temptation”, and “Duchess of Mandalore”
The Clone Wars introduces us to its initially controversial take on the Mandalorians, who are now a peace-seeking neutral party looking to avoid taking sides in the Clone Wars, while the armoured warriors we’ve come to expect of their peoples are branded as yesteryear glory-chasers in the Death Watch.
Aside from all this new lore about the state of Mandalore, it’s here where we’re introduced to the Darksaber as well, including not just its shocking appearance but the fact it can deflect lightsaber blades. Here, it’s wielded by Death Watch commander Pre Vizsla (voiced by Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau), reveals it to Obi-Wan Kenobi before a duel.
“A Friend in Need” (Season 4, Episode 14)
Vizsla and his renegade Mandalorians return, uneasy allies of renegade Separatist politician (and potential paramour for Ahsoka) Lux Bonteri. Although we don’t learn much more about the Darksaber here, we do see Vizsla using it to terrorize a helpless village, so...that’s fun?
The Mandalore Coup (Season 5, Episodes 14-16): “Eminence”, “Shades of Reason”, and “The Lawless”
A major arc in Clone Wars, not only does this see the Death Watch team up with Darth Maul and his brother Savage Opress, but successfully stage a coup that wrests control of the planet out of Duchess Satine and into Vizsla’s hands, wielding the Darksaber as a symbol of his right to rule Mandalore.
Vizsla doesn’t have that right for long, however: Maul betrays him, and in a battle to decide who will sit on Mandalore’s throne, Maul kills the Death Watch commander, taking the Darksaber for himself...and even getting to use it to battle his old Sith Master, who has learned of his fallen apprentice’s return.
Star Wars: Rebels
“Visions and Voices” (Season 3, Episode 11)
Darth Maul, back on his bullshit after appearing in the climax of Rebels’ second season, lures Ezra Bridger to his side with haunting visions of the Darksaber, still in his possession after the events of the siege of Mandalore (something we’ll get to see in Clone Wars’ upcoming final season on Disney+).
The legendary blade trades owners once again, however, this time returning to the hands of a Mandalorian: Sabine Wren.
Revolution on Mandalore (Season 3, Episodes 15-16): “Trials of the Darksaber” and “Legacy of Mandalore”
Kanan Jarrus trains Sabine in the ways of the Darksaber at the behest of Fenn Rau, leader of the Mandalorian Protectors of Concord Dawn. With the Empire in control of Mandalore thanks to an alliance with supercommando Gar Saxon, Sabine returns to her homeworld and estranged family in an attempt to use the Darksaber to inspire her people to overthrow their Imperial subjugators.
This small arc not only establishes the Darksaber’s place in Mandalorian history as the weapon of its most famous rulers, but opens with Rau offering a brief explanation of the blade’s own creation: it’s the weapon of the first-ever Mandalorian Jedi. Knights of the Old Republic fans will want to watch out for a few sneaky references, too.
The Liberation of Mandalore (Season 4, Episodes 1 and 2): “Heroes of Mandalore” and Part 2
With a little help from her Rebel friends, Sabine and her family rally their fellow Mandalorian Houses together against the Empire under the Darksaber’s legendary stature. When victory against the Empire is achieved and Mandalore is free once again, Sabine relinquishes the Darksaber, passing it over to a new owner to begin another chapter of Mandalore’s rule.
Those episodes will catch you all up on the Darksaber and give you an idea of just how shocking it is to see the saber in the hands of Moff Gideon. We’ll have more on the Darksaber soon.