- "I didn't know Mandalorians developed a type of lightsaber."
"We didn't, this was one of a kind. Legend tells that it was created over a thousand years ago by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order. After his passing, the Jedi kept the saber in their temple. That was until members of the House Vizsla snuck in and liberated it. They used the saber to unify the people and strike down those who would oppose them. At one time, they ruled all of Mandalore wielding this blade. This saber is an important symbol to that house and respected by the other clans."
- ―Kanan Jarrus and Fenn Rau
The Darksaber was an ancient and unique black-bladed lightsaber created by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order, prior to 1032 BBY. The weapon was kept in the Jedi Temple after Vizsla's passing, but members of House Vizsla stole the saber in a conflict with the Jedi during the fall of the Old Republic. The Darksaber was passed down, generation to generation, by the ancestors of Pre Vizsla, who held onto the weapon even after the pacifist ideals of the New Mandalorians replaced the warrior ways of Mandalore.
By 21 BBY, the Darksaber was in the possession of Pre Vizsla, the leader of Death Watch and House Vizsla during the Clone Wars. He used the blade during his conflicts with the New Mandalorians, including his successful takeover of Mandalore. After the coup, renegade Sith Lord Maul killed Vizsla in a duel and took the Darksaber as his own, becoming the leader of Death Watch. However, Maul's old master, Darth Sidious, soon arrived on Mandalore to confront his former apprentice. Maul used the Darksaber to fight him but was ultimately bested in combat, taken prisoner and held at a Separatist prison, the Spire, on Stygeon Prime.
Maul was soon rescued from the Spire at the behest of Prime Minister Almec, whom Maul had chosen as the public leader of Mandalore. After being freed, Maul returned to Zanbar, the location of a Death Watch camp, and was given back the Darksaber, which had been recovered from the Sundari Royal Palace, the site of Maul's duel with Sidious. Shortly after his return, Zanbar was attacked by the Separatist Droid Army, led by General Grievous, and Maul made use of the Darksaber against the cyborg general, although he was forced to retreat. Maul continued to use the Darksaber in several subsequent battles, such as the battle on Ord Mantell, the assault on Vizsla Keep 09, and the Second Battle of Dathomir.
During the Imperial Era, the Mandalorian weapons expert and rebel Sabine Wren retrieved the Darksaber from the Nightsister lair on Dathomir. At the urging of Mandalorian Protector Fenn Rau and her fellow Spectres, Sabine agreed to undergo training with the Darksaber under the tutelage of Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus. Later, Sabine brought the Darksaber with her and her rebel companions during a mission to Krownest to seek her family's support for the rebellion. Sabine became the rightful wielder of the Darksaber after defeating Imperial Viceroy Gar Saxon in a duel.
After rescuing her father from Imperial custody and destroying the superweapon she had built while an Imperial cadet, Sabine offered the Darksaber over to Lady Bo-Katan Kryze, the sister of the former Duchess, whom she deemed to be the rightful person to lead the Mandalorians against the Empire. Bo-Katan was reluctant to accept the mantle of leader, but with the support of the other clans, agreed and accepted the Darksaber.
After the Great Purge, the Empire desecrated Mandalore and Bo-Katan lost possession of the Darksaber. She fled the planet, but continued to lead the Nite Owls and was intent on eventually reclaiming the Darksaber and Mandalore. By circa 9 ABY, the weapon had fallen into the hands of Moff Gideon, the leader of an Imperial remnant on the planet of Nevarro. During his rescue of the Force-sensitive foundling Grogu from Gideon, the Mandalorian Din Djarin won the Darksaber from Gideon in combat. Din Djarin offered Bo-Katan Kryze the Darksaber but she did not accept it as she believed if she hadn't won the Darksaber in combat it would not truly be hers to keep and would be viewed as a pretender to the throne of Mandalore being considered illegitimate.
- "Anyone can hold the Darksaber. The trick is keeping it, along with your head."
- ―Ursa Wren to Sabine Wren
The Darksaber was an ancient black-bladed lightsaber. It had a unique blade that was shorter than that of most lightsabers, and shaped like a traditional sword. Its overall profile was distinctly Mandalorian with an angular pommel, hand guard, and slit-shaped blade emitter. The sound emitted by its blade was also higher pitched than other lightsabers. The Darksaber had a crystal which served as a conduit for Force energy. The wielder's thoughts and actions guided the blade's current of power, with the blade often producing an electrical effect in response to a heightened emotional state. The Darksaber was also capable of parrying a blow from a lightsaber, with the blades being drawn to each other in an almost magnetic pull. Like other typical lightsabers, the darksaber could not cut through beskar. It was respected by the Mandalorians as a symbol for the leadership of House Vizsla, and later Death Watch. According to Mandalorian custom, one could only obtain the Darksaber by defeating the previous owner in combat. Should they have claimed it any other way, their claim was considered illegitimate. However Bo-Katan received the Darksaber from Sabine Wren without the fight and was accepted by other clans.
In the days of the Old Republic, the Darksaber was created by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order. After his passing it was kept at the Jedi Temple. However, during the Old Republic's fall, it was taken by Mandalorians of House Vizsla, who raided the Jedi Temple. Descendants of House Vizsla used it to kill many Jedi and rule all of Mandalore for many years.
In the hands of Pre Vizsla
- "This lightsaber was stolen from your Jedi Temple by my ancestors during the fall of the Old Republic. Since then many Jedi have died upon its blade. Prepare yourself to join them!"
- ―Pre Vizsla, to Obi-Wan Kenobi
During the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi of the Jedi High Council discovered Death Watch's camp near the planet's mines. Using the Darksaber, Vizsla fought Kenobi as his troops evacuated. Though he boasted some skill in combat, Vizsla was unable to defeat Kenobi or prevent his escape with Duchess Satine Kryze.
Following Vizsla's fallout with the Separatists and Count Dooku, Vizsla and his fellow Death Watch troops made camp on Carlac. After the arrival of Senator Lux Bonteri, Vizsla attempted to murder Chieftain Pieter with the Darksaber but instead struck down his granddaughter when she threw herself in front of him as his men destroyed Ming Po Town. After Bonteri's friend, Padawan Ahsoka Tano, revealed herself as a Jedi and tried to defend the Ming Po, she was subdued. Later, Vizsla attempted to execute her with the Darksaber. However, Tano freed herself with the help of her astromech droid, R2-D2. She then slew multiple Mandalorian warriors and dueled Vizsla until she slashed his jetpack, allowing her and Bonteri to make their escape.
Following the discovery of the rogue Sith Lord Maul and his brother Savage Opress near their camp on Zanbar, Vizsla agreed to an alliance between Death Watch and Maul's Shadow Collective. Vizsla used the Darksaber on Nal Hutta against the Hutt Clans' Grand Council's Nikto guards. Vizsla then led the Council's leader, Jabba, to agree to join their alliance.
On Mandalore, following the Shadow Collective's attacks on the police in Sundari, Vizsla and his Death Watch troopers stepped in to "protect" against the Collective's forces. However, this was actually staged with the intention of overthrowing Duchess Satine's government. Vizsla used the Darksaber in a staged duel against Opress and then arrested him. Thanks to his efforts, Vizsla and the Death Watch were hailed as heroes in the eyes of the Mandalorian populace.
Vizsla then betrayed Maul and Opress and had them imprisoned. After their escape, Maul challenged Vizsla for leadership of Death Watch. Vizsla used the Darksaber against Maul. Despite putting up an impressive fight with the use of both the Darksaber and his armor's numerous weapons, Vizsla was disarmed, defeated, and summarily executed by Maul with the Darksaber. Maul then claimed the Darksaber and leadership of Death Watch, much to the chagrin of Vizsla's lieutenant, Nite Owl Bo-Katan Kryze, who refused to follow a leader who was not a Mandalorian despite him winning the fabled blade fairly in combat.
The blade of Darth Maul
After Maul lured Kenobi back to Mandalore, Maul used the Darksaber to kill Duchess Satine in front of Kenobi as part of his revenge against the Jedi Master. After Kenobi made his escape thanks to Bo-Katan, Maul and Opress were confronted by Maul's former master, Darth Sidious, who came to eliminate his former apprentice before he grew even more powerful. Together, Maul and Opress fought Sidious, but they were no match against the Sith Lord. After Opress was killed, Maul drew the Darksaber and wielded it in tandem with his red blade against his former master, but was unable to defeat him. Sidious tossed aside the Darksaber as he subdued and tortured Maul with Force lightning. As his former apprentice begged for mercy, Sidious simply replied that there was no mercy as he continued to torture him.
Prime Minister Almec and the Mandalorian super commandos recovered the Darksaber following Maul's capture by Sidious. After being freed from the prison known as the Spire by Gar Saxon and Rook Kast, Maul reclaimed the Darksaber and used the weapon against General Grievous's forces and MagnaGuards when they came to Zanbar to attack their base. Maul fought Grievous until his forces were forced to retreat.
Maul again used the Darksaber when he boarded Grievous's dreadnought to keep him in check during the battle on Ord Mantell. Maul then threatened to kill Dooku with the Darksaber as a means of revenge against Sidious. However, Maul freed Dooku and the two used their weapons against Kenobi, Mace Windu, Aayla Secura, Tiplee, and their forces forces as they battled at Maul's secret asteroid outpost Vizsla Keep 09. He then used the Darksaber against Secura and Windu whilst Dooku killed Tiplee.
After Maul returned to Dathomir to help Mother Talzin regain her physical form, Maul was confronted by Sidious and Grievous at the Nightbrothers' village. He, along with Talzin, who had possessed Dooku, fought Sidious and Grievous. Maul used the Darksaber in the battle until he and Talzin were overwhelmed. He fled the battle as Talzin sacrificed herself and was killed by Grievous.
Age of the Empire
- "Is that a lightsaber?"
"Indeed, yes, but not like any you would know. If your Mandalorian friend was here, she could explain it to you."
- ―Ezra Bridger and Maul discussing the Darksaber
The Darksaber was still on Dathomir during the reign of the Galactic Empire, kept by Maul in the Nightsister lair. Sabine Wren used it against Ezra Bridger while she was possessed by a Nightsister spirit. Ezra used his lightsaber and the Darksaber to destroy the altar from which the spirits rose. Sabine then picked up the Darksaber as she, Ezra, and Kanan Jarrus left the planet. Upon their return to their base on the planet Atollon, Sabine gave the lightsaber to Kanan for safekeeping because she was hesitant to use it herself.
Later, Kanan showed the saber to Fenn Rau, suspecting that the Mandalorian Protector knew something about it, as Sabine had refused to speak of the weapon since their return from Dathomir. Rau told Kanan the legend of the saber's creation, as well as how it was used to unite House Vizsla and, eventually, all of Mandalore. Rau and Hera Syndulla convinced a reluctant Sabine to learn how to use the saber so she could attempt to use it to unite Clan Wren and form an alliance with the rebellion. Sabine was willing to try, but was unsure she would be successful, due to her estranged relationship with her family. Kanan, Ezra, and Sabine traveled to a secluded location on the planet Atollon to train. Ezra taught Sabine the basic lightsaber forms using wooden training sabers, and after several days, Kanan allowed Sabine to wield the Darksaber. During the duel, Kanan was able to convince Sabine to talk about why she left Mandalore. Sabine revealed she left to fight the Empire and save her planet. She felt responsible for weapons the Empire used to enslave her people. In doing this, Sabine was able to process her emotions, which allowed her to decide that she was worthy of wielding the saber.
Following her trials, Sabine, along with Kanan, Ezra, Chopper, and Rau, traveled with the Darksaber to Clan Wren's domain on Krownest. Their mission was to solicit Clan Wren's support for the rebellion. After crash-landing on the planet, Sabine, Kanan, and Ezra sought an audience with Sabine's mother Ursa Wren, the leader of Clan Wren. While Ursa was shocked that her daughter had obtained the Mandalorian weapon, she later disputed Sabine's claim to the weapon since she had not wrested it from Maul in single combat. Later, Ursa tried to trade the Darksaber, along with Kanan and Ezra, to Viceroy Gar Saxon, the Emperor's Hand and the puppet ruler of Mandalore, in exchange for Sabine's safety. Saxon had no intention of keeping his word and ignited the Darksaber as a signal to his men to massacre Clan Wren. While the Super Commandos fought with the Clan Wren warriors and the Jedi, Saxon tried to murder Ursa with the Darksaber from behind but Sabine, wielding Ezra's lightsaber, intercepted the blow. The two then engaged in a fierce duel outside the Wren Stronghold. Although Saxon nearly overpowered Sabine with sheer force, Sabine managed to use her newfound skills to wound him and recover the Darksaber, holding both the black and green blades to his throat and demanding he yield. After Ursa killed Saxon, Sabine became the rightful new owner of the Darksaber. She stayed behind with her family and Rau to reunify the Mandalorian people and find the true leader of Mandalore.
Sabine eventually led a mission to Mandalore to rescue her father, Alrich Wren, from Imperial custody. She wielded the Darksaber during the fighting, first at a remote prison and later attacking the convoy taking her father back to Sundari. During the mission, Sabine met Bo-Katan and offered her the sword, but Bo-Katan turned it down as she felt she was unworthy and had already had her chance to rule. Later, Sabine and Bo-Katan led a raid on then-Mandalorian governor Tiber Saxon's Star Destroyer in order to destroy the Duchess, the superweapon Sabine had built during her days as an Imperial cadet. Sabine used the Darksaber to breach the Duchess' core, causing a chain reaction that led to the Star Destroyer's destruction and Tiber's death. After the raid, she finally persuaded Bo-Katan to accept the weapon by showing her that other clans were willing to follow her and stating that the Force had brought the saber to her so she in turn could pass it on to Bo-Katan. Bo-Katan accepted the sword in memory of her sister Satine and for the honor of her clan and Mandalore itself.
After claiming the Darksaber, Bo-Katan would eventually lose the weapon after the Great Purge, and leave Mandalore. However, she continued to lead the Nite Owls and remained focused on eventually reclaiming her homeworld as well as the fabled weapon that signified her leadership.
After the Empire
- "Where is it?"
"The Darksaber. Does he have it?"
- ―Bo-Katan Kryze and an Imperial captain
By circa 9 ABY, Moff Gideon, who had participated in the Great Purge the Empire had launched against the Mandalorians, had acquired the Darksaber. He later used it to escape from the wreckage of his Outland TIE fighter after a confrontation with Din Djarin on the planet of Nevarro.
Around this time, Bo-Katan Kryze was aware of Gideon's ownership of the Darksaber and was hunting for him. Aboard an Imperial Gozanti-class cruiser, Bo-Katan, accompanied by Axe Woves, Koska Reeves, and Djarin, threatened an Imperial Captain and demanded to know the location of the Darksaber. The captain bit a suicide shocker, killing him. This move left Kryze clueless about its whereabouts, but sharpened her will to earn back what was rightfully hers.
Following the skirmish on Tython, the Mandalorian foundling Grogu was captured by Gideon and brought to his command ship. While visiting the child in his cell, Gideon ignited the Darksaber, and asked him if he remembered other weapons of its kind from his past. When Grogu reached towards the saber's blade, Gideon pulled it away and taunted him, telling him that he was not yet ready to play with such things.
After Grogu's capture, Djarin located Bo-Katan and Reeves and recruited them to help rescue him. Bo-Katan agreed to help after Djarin promised her the Darksaber. After a successful raid of Gideon's cruiser by Djarin, Bo-Katan, and their associates, Djarin defeated Gideon in a duel and wrested the Darksaber from him. He brought the captured moff to the bridge and tried to give the weapon to Bo-Katan, but she refused to take it. Gideon laughed at Djarin's ignorance as Bo-Katan explained that she had to win it in battle. Djarin attempted to yield, intending to make good on his promise and wanting to avoid trouble, but Bo-Katan only stared at him coldly and yet again refused. However, before their conflict could continue, the group was forced to arm themselves to repel Gideon's dark troopers. Eventually, the Jedi Luke Skywalker arrived to save them, taking Grogu with him to be trained in the ways of the Force.
Behind the scenes
- "I've gone through two, three? Three and a half, I think I've broken already. But I go at it. Like, I go at it. I've broken few of them to the point where the [prop] guys, they love me."
- ―Giancarlo Esposito on filming with the Darksaber for The Mandalorian Season Two
Though it had originally been intended for Pre Vizsla to fight using a vibroblade, a familiar weapon in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the vibroblade was later modified at the request of George Lucas, with the creative team altering the blade into an archaic, black-bladed lightsaber they deemed the Darksaber.
In an interview with The Star Wars Show, Sam Witwer explained that the production of Solo: A Star Wars Story originally planned to reintroduce Maul's original lightsaber during his scene with Qi'ra. Witwer suggested using either the Darksaber or his Rebels lightsaber. Ultimately, the latter was chosen for the film. The saber made its live-action debut in the eighth episode of the 2019 Disney+ television show The Mandalorian, wielded by the series' antagonist Moff Gideon played by Giancarlo Esposito.
- LEGO STAR WARS: Celebrate the Season – "Trick-or-Treat"
- LEGO STAR WARS: Celebrate the Season – "Ghost Ship"
Notes and references
- Ultimate Star Wars
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Mandalore Plot"
- Star Wars Rebels – "Trials of the Darksaber"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shades of Reason"
- Star Wars Rebels: Heroes of Mandalore
- The Mandalorian – "Chapter 8: Redemption"
- The Mandalorian – "Chapter 16: The Rescue"
- Star Wars Rebels – "The Protector of Concord Dawn"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
- Star Wars Rebels – "Legacy of Mandalore"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Friend in Need"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Eminence"
- Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 1
- Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 2
- Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 3
- Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 4
- Star Wars Rebels – "Visions and Voices"
- The Mandalorian – "Chapter 11: The Heiress"
- The Mandalorian is set about five years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 4 ABY. Therefore, Moff Gideon must have acquired the Darksaber during or prior to 9 ABY. establishes that
- The Mandalorian – "Chapter 14: The Tragedy"