Looks like The Mandalorian heard you like secret Easter eggs in your Star Wars stuff, some stuff so secret that you’ve got to be a hardcore fan of Rebels and The Clone Wars to even catch it. The ending of The Mandalorian Episode 8 (the Season 1 finale) just dropped, and the very last scene brings back something hardcore fans should have honestly seen coming. But, beyond talking about this thing, how the hell did it get there?
Spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian Episode 8, “Chapter 8: Redemption.”
Okay! Get ready. Right at the very end of the episode, just when you think Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) might be taken care of, it turns out, he’s totally alive and he’s swinging around what looks like a black-bladed lightsaber! If you’ve never seen this thing before, don’t feel bad, but it is basically a black blade lightsaber called the “Darksaber,” and, the best part is it was literally built by a Mandalorian back in the dusty days of even longer ago in a galaxy far, far away.
The Darksaber comes from Star Wars antiquity, but more recently from the The Clone Wars and Rebels cartoons that flesh out the more recent history of Mandalorians. Short story: the Darksaber was built by Tarre Vizsla, a Mandalorian who was also a freaking Jedi.
The Darksaber is about 1,000 years old in Rebels, which means it’s only about 1,010 years old in The Mandalorian. The point is, it’s super old. In The Clone Wars, Darth Maul stole this thing from legit Mandalorians. In Rebels, the Darksaber was wielded by real-deal Mandalorian Sabine Wren. Now, it’s in the hands of former Imperial officer Moff Gideon, who, we learn was involved in the Siege of Mandalore, at some point in the past.
So, how did Moff Gideon get the Darksaber? Here are our three best theories.
3. Gideon stole the Darksaber from Bo-Katan Kryze during the Seige of Mandalore
After Sabine wielded the saber on Rebels, she handed it off to Mandalorian leader Bo-Katan Kryze, which, is the last time in canon we saw it, until now. In Mandalorian Episode 8, Mando also mentions that Gideon was part of the Seige of Mandalore. Considering he was an Imperial officer, that implies he probably took a bunch of sweet Mandalorian stuff that wasn’t his.
If this is true, it might mean Bo-Katan is dead, which is too bad, because she’s a great character and in both The Clone Wars and Rebels was voiced by Battlestar Galactica alum Katee Sackhoff. If there ever was a live-action version of this character on The Mandalorian (even in flashback) it must be played by Sackhoff. We’re kind of calling it now; Katee Sackhoff can (and should) be in season 2 of The Mandalorian.
2. It’s not the same Darksaber
This explanation is highly unlikely, only because Rebels went out of its way to explain that this thing was literally “one of a kind.” That said, The Mandalorian has added a few new wrinkles onto the traditions of the Mandalorian culture, so, the idea there were a couple of extra Darksabers lying around isn’t totally ridiculous. Maybe Gideon reverse-engineered the lightsaber tech.
1. Gideon got a bunch of Mandalorians to fight for the Empire (again)
In Rebels it’s revealed that a faction of Mandalorians fought for the Empire during the Rebellion era of Star Wars. So, it stands to reason that when Mandalore was taken-over, Gideon convinced some factions to willingly work for him.
This happened before when Darth Maul took over Death Watch in The Clone Wars and a bunch of Mandalorians backed him up until a civil war broke out. Ditto for the Rebellion against the Empire, a bunch of Mandalorian Super Commandos worked for the Empire against the Rebels until they were convinced otherwise. The larger point is Gideon might not have needed to have taken the Darksaber away from a Mandalorian by force.
Who cares where it came from! What’s going to happen next?
Because the Darksaber is literally a lightsaber built by Mandalorians, anyone who has watched Rebels and The Clone Wars probably should have seen this coming. We knew “regular” lightsabers probably weren’t going to show up on this show, but the easiest way to get a lightsaber onto The Mandalorian is just to bring on the only Mandalorian-made lightsaber.
It seems reasonable that in season 2, Mando (aka Din Djarin) will get this thing out of the hands of Moff Gideon and swing it around himself. But, if Baby Yoda becomes a legit Mandalorian foundling, then it makes sense for a grown version of Baby Yoda to wield the Darksaber as his lightsaber. Not saying we’ll see that in season 2, per se. But, sometime down the road, it seems to make sense.
Now, the only question is how they’re going to get those ears inside of one of those Mando helmets.
The Clone Wars season 7 may give us some answers
In February 2020, The Clone Wars will drop a retroactive seventh season, which will feature the “return” of Ahsoka Tano. Obviously, this will be set during the actual Clone Wars, so that means, in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. But, it seems very possible that this season could explain various things about The Mandalorian, including the Darksaber. If we see the Republic or the Separatists invade Mandalore in this upcoming Clone Wars season, a cameo from a much younger Moff Gideon isn’t out of the question.
All eight episodes of The Mandalorian Season 1 are streaming now on Disney+.
Here’s your complete guide to essential Mandalorian-focused episodes of The Clone Wars and Rebels.
The Mandalorain season 2 does not have a debut date. Yet.
The Clone Wars season 7 hits Disney+ in February 2020.