Sure, Werner Herzog makes a great villain, but do you know what’s even better? Giancarlo Esposito emerging from a crashed Tie Fighter by cutting his way out with a glowing black sword—and then standing on the Tie Fighter with said black sword as his black cape blows in the desert sunset. Badass.
Esposito’s Moff Gideon, the now-resident bad guy in Disney’s The Mandalorian, wields what’s called a “darksaber”—which isn’t quite the opposite of a “lightsaber,” despite its Yin-Yang name dualism. Yeah, it’s a little confusing.
The darksaber, however, isn’t just a Moff Gideon thing; the sword has been a fixture of the Star Wars universe for some time. It’s relevance in The Mandalorian has to do with the sword’s history, which may connect Din Djarin (Mando) with that magic space wizardry he knows of as “the force.”
Here’s what to know about the legendary Star Wars darksaber.
The darksaber was created by a Mandalorian
According to Wookipeedia, the lightsaber (which is black, which is dark, which gives it the name “darksaber”) was created by Mandalorian Tarre Vizsla about 1,000 years before the Death Star’s first test. (If the Death Star is nuclear weapons, then Vizsla would have been alive in the equivalent of medieval Europe.)
Vizsla was the first of the Mandalorians to join the Jedi Order. After he died, the darksaber was passed down, finding possession by Darth Maul and then later Moff Gideon, an imperial leader on Nevarro. Gideon acquired the sword about nine years before the events of A New Hope. He has been in possession of the sword ever since.
The darksaber is unique among lightsabers
The darksaber is shorter in length and resembles more a traditional sword than its lightsaber counterparts. It holds a crystal which conducts Force energy, meaning the user will likely have to be one with the force to use. The darksaber is also connected to the thoughts and actions of its wielder, changing states with the emotional fluctuations of its owner. The blade can also apparently parry a lightsaber, meaning it can be used to disarm a Jedi. Powerful stuff.
Mando must kill Gideon to reclaim the darksaber for the Mandalorians
The darksaber was seen as a symbol of leadership among the Mandalorians. Custom held that the honorable passing of the sword could take place only in combat; one must dethrone the darksaber’s owner. As the saber responds to the thoughts of its user, it makes sense that it must be orphaned before used.
Will we see Mando challenge Gideon for the ancient object? We sure as heck hope so.
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