The Mandalorian: A History Of The Darksaber And All It's Wielders
Time for a History Lesson.
WARNING: SPOILERS for season 2 of The Mandalorian, and seasons 3 and 4 of Star Wars: Rebels.
As viewers begin the long wait for a new season of The Mandalorian, we are left with more time to absorb what we have already seen. One of the most interesting elements of the second season was the live-action debut of the Darksaber, a powerful Mandalorian weapon. While the Darksaber will be new to those who have only watched live-action Star Wars content, the weapon already has a deep history in animated Star Wars media.
Here's a quick rundown on the history of the Darksaber and it's wielders.
Tarre Vizsla, the creator of the Darksaber, is an important figure in Mandalorian history. After discovering that he was Force-Sensitive as a child, Tarre became the first Mandalorian to ever be admitted to the Jedi Order. During his time with the Jedi, he created the Darksaber, a one of a kind black-bladed lightsaber.
As an adult, Tarre Vizsla returned to Mandalore with the Darksaber, which soon became a symbol of leadership for his family, Clan Vizsla. Wielding the Darksaber, Tarre lead and united the people of Mandalore, becoming known as the Mand'alor. After Tarre Vizsla's death, the Darksaber was kept in a Jedi Temple until it was stolen by members of House Vizsla during a battle between Jedi and Mandalorians at the time of the fall of the Old Republic. This began the tradition of the Darksaber needing to be won in battle for the wielder to be deemed worthy of it's power.
In the Star Wars: Forces Of Destiny short 'Art History', Sabine Wren takes her brother, Tristan, to visit a statue of Tarre Vizsla, only to find it has become the site of an Imperial outpost. The pair destroy the outpost out of respect for Vizsla's place in the history of their people.
Over the years, the Darksaber passed through the hands of many Clan Vizsla leaders, eventually landing in the hands of Pre Vizsla. Following his the Old Mandalorians defeat in the Mandalorian Civil War in 42 BBY, Pre Vizsla uses the Darksaber to gather followers and form swxthe terrorist group Death Watch. The group's goal is to overthrow the pacifist regime of the New Mandalorians, lead by Duchess Satine Kryze, and restore their former glory as a warrior race.
Vizsla hopes to use the widespread unrest caused by The Clone Wars to seize power, but his early attempts failed, mostly due to interference from the Jedi, most notably, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka Tano. Vizsla comes by more success after becoming the co-leader of Darth Maul's criminal Shadow Collective. Thanks to an attack on Mandalore orchestrated by Maul that the Duchess is unable to overcome, Vizsla and the Death Watch manipulate the situation, becoming heroes to the people of Mandalore by fending off the 'attack' themselves. Thanks to his victory, Pre Vizsla is able to oust Satine and take control of Mandalore, and the Mand'alor title.
Vizsla planned to betray and imprison Maul after retaking Mandalore, but this backfires spectacularly when Maul escapes and kills Vizsla in a duel, taking control of the Darksaber and the Death Watch.
As mentioned above, Darth Maul won the Darksaber after defeating Pre Vizsla in a duel. Maul's victory created a split in the Death Watch. Vizsla's second in command, Bo-Katan Kryze, refused to follow a leader who was not a Mandalorian. Half of the Death Watch followed Bo-Katan, who soon reconciled with her older sister, former Duchess Satine Kryze, and later became the leader of a new Mandalorian Resistance to fight back against Maul's control.
Maul quickly installs Prime Minister Almec as a puppet leader to run Mandalore while he continues to work towards his own ends. Maul uses the Darksaber at various points throughout the rest of the Clone Wars, most notably to execute Satine Kryze in front of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and later, in a duel against his former Master, Darth Sidious. Maul loses the duel and is captured, but does not lose the Darksaber as Sidious doesn't bother to claim it. When Maul is freed from captivity, Almec has the saber retrieved and returned to him.
Maul doesn't have the Darksaber with him when Ahsoka Tano takes him prisoner during the Siege Of Mandalore. It is later discovered by Ezra Bridger amid other relics Maul has collected, in the Nightsister Lair on Dathomir.
The Darksaber first comes into Sabine Wren's possession when she takes it up against her friend Ezra Bridger while possessed by the spirit of the Nightsisters. She briefly relinquishes the blade into the care of Kanan Jarrus, until fellow Mandalorian Fenn Rau convinces her that she may be able to use it to unite their people and win them over to the side of the Rebellion. After some saber training with Ezra and Kanan, Sabine heads to Mandalore. The planet is currently run by Clan Saxon, who are in the pocket of the Empire.
Sabine eventually earns her right to the Darksaber when she defeats Gar Saxon win battle. While she has no interest in the title of Mand'alor, Sabine agrees to stay on Mandalore long enough to help free the planet from Imperial Rule, and find the right person to lead the Mandalorians into the future.
Sabine eventually passes the Darksaber to Bo-Katan Kryze, freeing herself up to rejoin the rebel crew aboard the Ghost and aid in the liberation of Lothal. She was last seen joining Ahsoka Tano on a quest to locate Ezra Bridger.
While once a member of Pre Vizsla's Death Watch, Bo-Katan Kryze defected back to the side of the remaining New Mandalorians after Darth Maul obtained the Darksaber. She later becomes the head of the Mandalorian resistance, leading them into battle alongside the Galactic Republic in the Siege Of Mandalore, a joint operation to free the planet from Maul's control.
Following the death of her older sister, Duchess Satine Kryze, Bo-Katan is seen by many as the true ruler of Mandalore. While she briefly takes leadership following the Siege, Order 66 and the fall of the Galactic Republic caused her to soon be overthrown and replaced with Imperialist Gar Saxon.
After Clans Wren and Kryze work together to free Mandalore from Imperial control, Sabine Wren passes the Darksaber, and therefore leadership of Mandalore, to Bo-Katan, a decision supported by the other remaining clans. Unfortunately, she loses the saber during the Great Purge, an Imperial operation to wipe out the Mandalorians, simply so nobody else can take control of the planet.
Bo-Katan is among the few survivors, and has been pursuing the Darksaber ever since, intending to take it back and reclaim Mandalore once and for all.
Moff Gideon, a high-ranking Imperial Officer, took possession of the Darksaber during the Great Purge. He is first seen using it in the season one finale of The Mandalorian, to escape his crashed Tie-Fighter after being shot down by the Mandalorian, Din Djarin. The Darksaber is mentioned as being with Gideon when Bo-Katan shakes down an Imperial Officer for information on his location in 2x03, 'The Heiress'. However, it is not physically seen again until 2x06, 'The Tragedy', when Gideon uses it to taunt the weakened Grogu.
Gideon eventually loses the Darksaber to Din Djarin in a duel over the fate of the child, Grogu.
Din Djarin, The Mandalorian
As mentioned above, Din Djarin, also known as The Mandalorian, or simply Mando, takes the Darksaber from Moff Gideon after defeating him in battle. Din only wanted to rescue Grogu, and doesn't understand the story behind the Darksaber, or the significance of his winning it, until he comes face to face with an upset Bo-Katan, and Gideon explains his mistake.
In winning the Darksaber, Din Djarin also inadvertently won leadership of Mandalore, and the Mand'alor title that Bo-Katan Kryze hoped to regain. Now, some fans are concerned that Mando has painted a target on his own back.
We'll just have to wait and see where the Darksaber goes next.