What is the Darksaber? Breaking down 'The Mandalorian's mysterious lightsaber

Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Giddeon wielding the darksaber.
Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Giddeon wielding the darksaber. (Image credit: Disney+)

So, you watched Season 1 of The Mandalorian and have some questions about Moff Giddeon's fancy weapon that everyone freaked out about. You've come to the right place. That fancy little number is known as the Darksaber, and it plays a huge part in Mandalorian lore and culture. Whole wars were fought over the weapon. Factions divided, peace threatened, the whole nine. The Mandalorians were a warrior culture, making their weaponry some of their most prized possessions, and no weapon was as treasured as this one.

The legendary blade will go on to play an extremely important role in Season 2 of The Mandalorian as well. With Bo-Katan's (Katee Sackhoff) introduction to the live-action side of Star Wars, so continues her quest to get back what's rightfully hers. Mando (Pedro Pascal) might not have any interest in its blade or its connection to the lore of his people, but the future Queen of Mandalore wants her Darksaber back. 

What is the Darksaber?

The short answer? We don't really know. Obviously, it's a lightsaber, but it doesn't appear to be created of kyber crystals like the standard issue Jedi Knight weapon. This raises even more questions, because the kyber crystals are what make lightsabers the Jedi weapon of choice. The crystals are attuned to the Force, making their connection to the Jedi - and the Sith - more powerful.

The best description we've gotten was from StarWars.com, noting that the blade is made of a "swirling dark energy." Ok, Star Wars, we still have questions! What kind of energy? How is it powered? You know what kind of nerds you're dealing with here! 

All the same, perhaps The Mandalorian will shed more light on the mysterious weapon.

What's the blade's history?

Though the Mandalorians fought a near-constant war with the Jedi Knights, a native from Mandalore eventually became one of the most honored warriors in the galaxy. Tarre Vizsla became one of the younglings when he was, well, young, and eventually grew to create the one-of-a-kind blade. Fenn Rau taught us more about the blade's connection to Mandalorian lore in an old Star Wars Rebels episode.

“Legend tells that it was created over 1,000 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 House Vizsla snuck in and liberated it.”

House Vizsla ties back to the Galactic Civil War. After Mandalore was destroyed by the Mandalorian's own thirst for conquest, factions were formed. Satine Kryze became the Duchess of Mandalore, bringing with her a new pacifist rule. That didn't sit well with House Vizsla, then led by Pre Vizsla. The Old Mandalorians thought pacifism equated to weakness, and they were willing to stop at nothing to get their (ravaged) planet back.

In the end, Pre Vizsla would not be able to defeat Duchess Satine. That victory would go to another villain taking refuge on Mandalore. (Check out The Clone Wars if you want more on this little story.)

The Darksaber's role in Season 2 of 'The Mandalorian'

Spoilers for Season 2 of The Mandalorian below. 

As mentioned, the Darksaber is of little concern to Din Djarin himself. It's Bo-Katan who wants the blade. We'll avoid major spoilers here, but the Season 2 finale does see the saber change hands. The winner of the blade wants nothing more than to simply hand it off to Bo-Katan and be done with it, but that's not quite how it works. In the most interesting (and what will be largely overlooked) moment of the finale, Moff Giddeon (Giancarlo Esposito) looks to the winner of the Darksaber and says simply: 

 “The Darksaber doesn’t have power. The story does.”

The Moff knows exactly what he's done when he hands off the weapon. The Mandalorian's insistence on adherence to antiquated codes is well documented. This blade is so entrenched in history and myth that the remaining Mandalorians see whoever holds it as their rightful leader, Mandalorian or no. Bo-Katan's rightful path to Queen gets more complicated the longer it remains out of her hands. 

Who's wielded the Darksaber in the past?

Some minor spoilers for The Clone Wars and Rebels below. 

The Darksaber has been wielded by quite a few members of the Star Wars mythos, at least by lightsaber standards. Obviously, you're aware of Moff Giddeon if you're reading this, Tarre Vizsla is the blade's creator, so he got to play with it for a while as well, but several more have been tempted by the weapon's power. Some stole it, others killed for it, and few were given the blade willingly. Here's who's possessed the weapon throughout history.

  • Tarre Vizsla (creator)
  • Pre Vizsla
  • (Former Darth) Maul
  • Sabine Wren
  • Kanan Jarrus
  • Bo-Katan Kryze
  • Moff Giddeon
Amelia Emberwing

Amelia is an entertainment Streaming Editor at IGN, which means she spends a lot of time analyzing and editing stories on things like Loki, Peacemaker, and The Witcher. In addition to her features and editorial work, she’s also a member of both the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice. A deep love of film and television has kept her happily in the entertainment industry for 7 years.