- "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
The Darksaber was an ancient, black-bladed lightsaber. Unlike most other lightsabers, the Darksaber's blade was nearly flat, thin, and curved to a point more typical of a metallic sword. The black core of the blade appeared to draw in all surrounding light and color, leaving a faint white, electrical aura along its edges, it hummed with a higher-pitched whine than its more common lightsaber counterparts when the blade was active, and made a sound like a whistle when it was swung. Once held by the Jedi Order, during a period of collapse in the Galactic Republic's power, the Darksaber was stolen by members of the Mandalorian warrior clans. Over time, the black lightsaber was passed down through generations of the Vizsla clan, and when Tor Vizsla founded the radical Mandalorian splinter group known as the Death Watch, he chose the Darksaber as the symbol of his authority as the sect's Secret Mandalore.
Upon Tor Vizsla's death, the ancient blade was entrusted to his clan kinsman Pre Vizsla, the current leader of Death Watch, and reigned as the Secret Mandalore well into the pan-galactic Clone Wars. Early in the war, the Darksaber was brought against the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in a duel on Mandalore's moon, Concordia. Vizsla's skill with the black blade was such that he could fight evenly with Kenobi for a time. After Death Watch was banished from the Mandalore system, Vizsla led his people to the planet Carlac. There, the Death Watch leader came into conflict with the Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano whom Vizsla attempted to kill with the Darksaber. After a short but heated bout, the young Jedi fled from Vizsla, and escaped the world with her life.
In 20 BBY, Vizsla led the Death Watch into an alliance with the Sith Lords Darth Maul and Savage Opress, assembling a criminal army with which they were able to bring down the leaders of the pacifistic New Mandalorians. When Vizsla betrayed the Sith in the wake of their victory, Maul challenged the Mandalorian soldier to single combat for leadership, and upon killing Vizsla after a fierce struggle, Maul claimed the Darksaber as his own, and with it leadership over Death Watch. Only weeks later, Maul was forced to use the Darksaber in a duel against his former master, the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious, who sought to bring the renegade Sith Lord back under his control. Despite wielding the Darksaber alongside his own red-bladed lightsaber, Maul was defeated and subdued by Sidious.
- "Because we were willing to die for our cause, we became the Death Watch, led by the Secret Mandalores. To ensure we would be led by the most powerful, we decreed that any warrior could challenge the Secret Mandalore for leadership of Death Watch. And as our symbol of authority we chose the Darksaber, an ancient weapon liberated from the Jedi long ago."
- ―Tor Vizsla, on the iconic significance of the Darksaber
An ancient incarnation of the lightsaber, the Darksaber was a unique weapon that produced a flat, black blade of plasma. Thin and curved to a point, a shape more similar to a metal sword than contemporary lightsabers, the Darksaber's black blade was a meter long and appeared to draw in the very light and color around it like a black hole. This effect gave the Darksaber a faint aura of white light around the edges of its blade, and made looking at it for an extended period uncomfortable.
The hilt of the Darksaber was thin and rectangular, and long enough to be grasped with two hands. It featured an angled crossguard and a serrated blade emitter. When the Darksaber's blade was activated by pressing its activation stud, the hum and pitch of the blade was notably higher than contemporary lightsabers, and the blade gave off a sound like a whistle when it was swung through the air. When the Darksaber came into contact with another object or a lightsaber blade, the Darksaber blade screeched, and the white aura that surrounded the black core of the blade crackled.
- "I claim this sword, and my rightful place as leader of Death Watch."
- ―Darth Maul, after slaying Pre Vizsla
Ancient and powerful, the Darksaber had been kept in the Jedi Temple on the galactic capital world of Coruscant. When the Galactic Republic suffered a blow to its influence, Mandalorians from the Vizsla clan raided the Temple and stole the Darksaber from within. Over time, the Darksaber was passed down through the clan's generations, and became responsible for the deaths of many Jedi over the years. By 60 BBY, the Darksaber had come into the possession of Tor Vizsla.
As Tor Vizsla assembled to him a group of malcontents who resented Jaster Mereel, the ruling Mand'alor—traditional leader of the Mandalorian clans—for his attempts to rein in their lifestyles of unaccountability, and promised them the downfall of the pacifistic New Mandalorians they so despised, he formed a splinter group known as the Death Watch. Taking his place as their leader, a Secret Mandalore in opposition to both the traditional Mand'alor chosen by the warrior clans and the one appointed by the peaceful New Mandalorians, Vizsla made the Darksaber a symbol of his authority as leader. Vizsla kept ownership of the Darksaber through the Mandalorian Civil War between Death Watch and Jaster Mereel's army of True Mandalorians, as well as the subsequent Great Clan Wars that erupted on the Mandalorians' cultural homeworld of Mandalore. However, Vizsla was killed by Jango Fett not long after the end of the Great Clan Wars, and the Darksaber passed into the possession of Tor Vizsla's clan kinsman, Pre Vizsla.
By the time the Galactic Republic clashed with the droid forces of the separatist Confederacy of Independent Systems in a pan-galactic conflict known as the Clone Wars, Pre Vizsla had taken his place as the leader of the Death Watch, succeeding Tor as the new Secret Mandalore. Publicly the benevolent New Mandalorian governor of Mandalore's moon, Concordia, bequeathed to the stewardship of Clan Vizsla after the end of the Great Clan Wars, Pre Vizsla secretly kept the Darksaber in his possession while plotting against the New Mandalorians' latest leader, Duchess Satine Kryze. Vizsla took to keeping the inactive Darksaber hilt slung on his back, just behind his right shoulder.
When the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi—a friend and former lover of Duchess Kryze—uncovered Death Watch's hidden base among Concordia's beskar mines, Vizsla engaged Kenobi in a lightsaber duel as his troops evacuated aboard their Kom'rk-class transports. Vizsla's skill with the Darksaber allowed him to battle Kenobi evenly for a time before Vizsla resorted to calling upon the aid of his Death Watch subordinates, who opened fire on Kenobi and forced the Jedi Master to retreat.
Stripped of his governance and driven from the Mandalore system, Pre Vizsla led the Death Watch to settle on the snowy world of Carlac. The Mandalorian rogues eventually made contact with the young senator of Onderon, Lux Bonteri, and agreed to an alliance in order to bring down the leader of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Count Dooku, as retribution for the count's trespasses against both parties. Not long after Bonteri arrived on Carlac in the company of the undercover Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano, Vizsla unleashed his Death Watch forces on the native Ming Po people that had bristled under the Mandalorians' occupation. Personally killing the granddaughter of the Ming Po chieftain with the Darksaber, Vizsla earned the ire of Padawan Tano, who broke her cover and attempted to protect the Ming Po from Death Watch, only to be subdued and captured. At the Death Watch's camp, Vizsla made to execute Tano with the Darksaber before his lieutenants, but the Jedi was able to escape her bindings with the aid of droid companion, and engaged Vizsla in a heated duel. The two fought evenly matched for a time, but Tano slashed Vizsla's jetpack with her lightsaber, forcing Vizsla to discard it before the ruptured fuel cells could explode; with Vizsla temporarily distracted, Tano fled the Death Watch encampment and departed Carlac with Bonteri.
With Republic military forces moving to combat the Death Watch presence on Carlac, Vizsla led the renegade sect to establish their operations on Zanbar. In 20 BBY, while passing over the planet Florrum, Death Watch encountered a seemingly derelict escape pod floating in space. Docking with the pod, Vizsla carved open the door with the Darksaber, and discovered the Zabrak Sith Lords Darth Maul and Savage Opress unconscious inside. Vizsla ordered the two Sith to be returned to Zanbar, where once they were conscious and their wounds healed, the three entered into an alliance of mutual benefit: the Sith would aid Death Watch's attempts to depose the New Mandalorians, while the Death Watch backed Darth Maul's plan of vengeance against Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, who had nearly killed Maul over a decade prior. To this end, they assembled an army of criminals from the Pyke Syndicate and the Black Sun. On Nal Hutta, negotiations for an alliance with the Hutt Grand Council failed, and in the resulting skirmish, Vizsla cut down numerous Nikto soldiers in the Hutts' service using the Darksaber. Lord Maul and Vizsla were then able to force the cooperation of the Hutt Cartels by threatening the kajidic lorda Jabba Desilijic Tiure, and put their plan to bring about the downfall of the New Mandalorian government into action.
On Mandalore, the criminal collective began a chaotic assault on the New Mandalorian capital city of Sundari, against which the city's police units proved ineffective. As the people called upon their leaders for aid, Death Watch appeared to the Sundari populace with a pledge to protect them. Death Watch troops clashed with their secret criminal allies, and Pre Vizsla personally used the Darksaber in a staged battle against Savage Opress, defeating and arresting the Zabrak Force-user. Winning the support of the people for their role in defeating the criminal threat, Death Watch was lauded as heroes, the Duchess Satine Kryze was deposed, and Pre Vizsla ascended to take her place.
With his own goals met, Pre Vizsla betrayed his Sith allies and had them imprisoned. However, Maul and Opress soon escaped their confines, and in the process, recruited the services of their fellow prisoner Almec—the former New Mandalorian Prime Minister. Storming the Royal Palace, Darth Maul challenged Vizsla to a deadly duel for leadership of Death Watch. Wielding the Darksaber, Vizsla battled Maul in a furious bout that left the palace throne room scarred. Despite making use of a myriad of weapons his Mandalorian armor had equipped, Vizsla was eventually disarmed and defeated, only to be summarily executed with his own Darksaber by Maul's hand. Maul then claimed the Darksaber as his own, and with it—in accordance Death Watch's own code of honor—proclaimed himself Death Watch's new leader. Several members of the Mandalorian group followed the lead of the deceased Vizsla's lieutenant, Bo-Katan, and refused to follow the command of a non-Mandalorian. Darksaber in hand, Maul ordered the dissenters killed, forcing the breakaway group to fight their way out of the palace. Almec was reinstated as the Prime Minister of the New Mandalorians, a puppet ruler for Maul who, with the Darksaber now in his possession, was the Death Watch's new Secret Mandalore.
Soon after, Maul lured Obi-Wan Kenobi to Sundari, where he captured the Jedi Master in the act of attempting to free Duchess Kryze. Returning to the palace with both prisoners, Maul chose to take his vengeance on Kenobi by killing his former love before his eyes, stabbing Kryze through the abdomen with the Darksaber. After allowing Kenobi to watch as she perished, Maul had him imprisoned to live with his emotional suffering, though the Jedi was able to escape with the assistance of Bo-Katan and her rebellious group.
Amid the chaos the Death Watch offshoots wrought in escorting Kenobi out of Sundari and off of Mandalore, Darth Maul's former master, the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious, arrived in Sundari to put an end to his renegade former apprentice's actions. Confronting Maul and his own Sith apprentice Savage Opress in the Sundari throne room, Lord Sidious engaged both combatants in a two-against-one duel that soon spilled out into the palace plaza. Initially making use of only his own lightsaber, after Sidious struck down Opress on the palace steps, Maul took up the Darksaber in concert with his own blade, and dual-wielded both weapons against the Dark Lord. Even with the added boon of the Darksaber, Maul proved unable to beat his former master in combat; Sidious disarmed and violently subdued Maul with the Force, the Darksaber was cast away as he brought the defeated Maul to heel before releasing deadly amounts of Force lightning at his defeated foe.
Behind the scenes
- "It has a crackle of electricity; it's kind of like a more ancient version of a lightsaber, and it's inferred in the episode that it's really one of a kind and that Pre Vizsla's ancestors stole it from the Jedi in the days of the Old Republic. So it's got all this neat history attached to it right away, and it sounds different."
- ―Dave Filoni
The Darksaber first appeared in the twelfth episode of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series' second season. Entitled "The Mandalore Plot," the episode premiered January 29, 2010, and featured the Darksaber being wielded by the newly introduced character of Pre Vizsla, who provided a brief backstory for the blade. 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.
The Darksaber was subsequently featured in the Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures online game, as well as The Clone Wars: Defenders of the Lost Temple comic book. It continued to appear alongside its owner Pre Vizsla in the animated The Clone Wars television series as well, including the fourth-season episode "A Friend in Need," and the fifth-season episodes "Eminence," "Shades of Reason," and "The Lawless."
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Mandalore Plot" (First appearance)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Voyage of Temptation" (Appears in flashback(s))
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Duchess of Mandalore" (Appears in flashback(s))
- Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures video game
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Friend in Need"
- The Clone Wars: Defenders of the Lost Temple
- The Clone Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Eminence"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shades of Reason"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
- "The Art of Mandalore"—Star Wars Insider 116
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season Two ("Creating Mandalore" featurette)
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- "10 Amazing Moments from Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season Four"—Star Wars Insider 134
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- "Classic Moment"—Star Wars Insider 137
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Set: 75022 Mandalorian Speeder)
- The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Mandalore Plot"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shades of Reason"
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 The Clone Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Essential Atlas
- ↑ The Essential Guide to Warfare
- ↑ Jango Fett: Open Seasons 1
- ↑ "The History of the Mandalorians"—Star Wars Insider 80
- ↑ Jango Fett: Open Seasons 4
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars: New Battlefronts: The Visual Guide
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Friend in Need"
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures video game
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Eminence (episode)"
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Star Wars: Are You Ready for the Mandalorians?