MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD for the Season 1 finale of The Mandalorian on Disney+.
The first season of The Mandalorian has come to an end on Disney+. Despite Baby Yoda as the undeniable scene-stealer of Season 1, the biggest reveal of the finale had almost nothing to do with the Force-sensitive little one. Instead, the episode ended on the reveal that Giancarlo Esposito's Moff Gideon, who was not executed for war crimes despite what Cara Dune had believed, was more than just a former Imperial with a lot of firepower. Moff Gideon has a lightsaber!
Or, as fans of Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars may have shouted when Moff Gideon sliced his way out of his crashed TIE fighter with the blade, he has the Darksaber! Although the finale didn't explicitly confirm that the weapon wielded by Moff Gideon at the end of the Mandalorian episode was indeed the Darksaber of Mandalorian design that was key to several plots in Star Wars animation, no other lightsaber in the saga so far has quite that distinctive look.
So, as we head into hiatus following the first season of Star Wars' first live-action series, let's dive into what the big Darksaber reveal means for The Mandalorian Season 2, the upcoming Clone Wars revival, and even what happened after a certain Star Wars Rebels cliffhanger. But first, for those who may not have caught the animated series, a brief history of the Mandalorian lightsaber known as the Darksaber!
What Is The Darksaber?
The Darksaber debuted in the Prequel Trilogy-era Clone Wars and most recently appeared in the shortly pre-Original Trilogy Star Wars Rebels as the lightsaber created by the first-ever Mandalorian Jedi. Unlike the blue and green of most Jedi lightsabers, the Darksaber has a black blade. After the death of the Mandalorian Jedi, the Darksaber was stolen by his family and taken back to Mandalore to be prized and wielded by non-Jedi.
On screen over the years, notable wielders of the Darksaber were Pre Vizsla (Clone Wars), Darth Maul (Clone Wars), Sabine Wren (Star Wars Rebels, pictured above), and Bo-Katan Kryze (Star Wars Rebels). As of the end of pre-epilogue Rebels, only Sabine and Bo-Katan of these were still alive, and only Maul of these four was ever Force-sensitive. The blade was an important symbol to Mandalore, and a Mandalorian leader wielding it was stronger among Mandalorians.
What Does The Darksaber Mean For The Mandalorian Season 2?
Even though The Mandalorian didn't explicitly name the weapon wielded by Moff Gideon, the distinctive hilt, color, and point to the blade make it pretty clear that either Moff Gideon has the Darksaber or The Mandalorian is going to reveal that there are two lightsabers that look exactly the same. So, operating under the assumption that Moff Gideon did indeed get his hands on the Darksaber, what does it mean for Season 2?
Well, first and foremost, possession and even use of the Darksaber doesn't mean that the user is Force-sensitive. While most instances of lightsaber use in Star Wars have involved Jedi, Sith, and individuals later kinda sorta confirmed to be Force-sensitive, the Darksaber has almost exclusively been wielded like a sword that just happens to be powered by a kyber crystal, rather than the weapon of a Force-using warrior. Moff Gideon doesn't have to be able to use the Force to use the Darksaber, which is good news for Mando and Baby Yoda.
That's not to say that Gideon is 100% not Force-sensitive. Still, there were no signs that he's connected to anything larger. The Darksaber is a formidable weapon for him to have at his disposal without the Force, for fighting, cutting himself out of crashed TIE fighters to just about scare the robes off the scavenging Jawas, and potentially as a symbol to Mandalorians other than Mando.
If Maul was able to lead Mandalore for a while thanks in part to possession of the Darksaber, could Gideon hold some sway with Mandalorians? Honor and culture are important to Mando himself, so even he could be affected by the knowledge that Gideon has it. Whether this means he has doubts about opposing the former Imperial or he's prepared to cross lines to try and get the Darksaber back remains to be seen.
It could be a game-changer, and Gideon clearly isn't going to give up on the chase for Baby Yoda just because Mando blew up his TIE. If anything, he could be more motivated than ever to catch them. Could he want to get his revenge on Mando and seize Baby Yoda for himself?
What Does Moff Gideon Having The Darksaber Mean For Star Wars Rebels?
Alas, Moff Gideon revealing his possession of the Darksaber at the end of The Mandalorian's Season 1 finale may mean that tragedy befell a Clone Wars and Rebels character after the culmination of her arc on Rebels: Bo-Katan Kryze, voiced by Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica fame. Although Bo-Katan was aligned with terrorists in early Clone Wars appearances, she emerged as the hero and leader Mandalore needed by the time the Mandalore arc of Rebels' final season came about.
By the end of that arc, Sabine freely handed the Darksaber over to Bo-Katan, who used it to rally the support of willing Mandalorians. Rebels didn't linger on Mandalore, and the series never revealed what happened to the planet and people after what was presumably another civil war on occupied Mandalore.
The Mandalorian has made it clear enough that a whole lot of Mandalorians died between when Bo-Katan rallied her people in Rebels Season 4 and five years after Return of the Jedi. Something called "The Great Purge" happened that resulted in a lot of death and the theft of a lot of beskar. Moff Gideon was also apparently an ISB officer during The Purge.
Is Moff Gideon's possession of the Darksaber proof that Bo-Katan was one of the many Mandalorians who perished in the war and Great Purge? It's hard to imagine she would give it up without a fight to the death, and her demise, the loss of the Darksaber, and the Great Purge combined would make it all-too-believable that Mandalorians would subsequently decide that never removing their helmets is "the way."
Moff Gideon's possession of the Darksaber may be the final proof short of explicit confirmation that Bo-Katan died despite her heroic efforts in and after Star Wars Rebels. But hey, maybe Bo-Katan is imprisoned somewhere, waiting to be freed and played in live-action by Katee Sackhoff! I can dream, right?
What Do The Darksaber And More Mandalore Mean For The Clone Wars Revival?
Despite the fact that The Mandalorian is far closer to Star Wars Rebels in the Star Wars timeline than it is to The Clone Wars, Moff Gideon's expertise on Mandalore and possession of the Darksaber provided even more reasons for fans to get hyped for the upcoming Clone Wars revival.
Rebels viewers know that the Siege of Mandalore presumably ends with the Darksaber still in Maul's possession, but with Maul himself forced from Mandalore. The Siege itself just hasn't been shown on screen or even in flashback... to this point.
The Clone Wars revival, which debuts in February 2020 and will run for 12 episodes to finally finish bridging the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, will finally reveal the Siege of Mandalore. According to Moff Gideon, gunships outfitted with deadly ordnance "laid waste to fields of Mandalorian recruits in the Night of a Thousand Tears."
It's not clear at this point what any connections between The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian courtesy of Moff Gideon and the Darksaber are or how important they may be, but the Mandalorian finale at least dropped some teases about what's in store with the Siege of Mandalore on Clone Wars. And we do know that Clone Wars will feature a lightsaber battle between Ahsoka and Maul, which could well involve the Darksaber.
Since Clone Wars' final season will presumably begin and end before The Mandalorian Season 2 kicks off, perhaps The Mandalorian leading back to Clone Wars this time around will switch to Clone Wars leading to The Mandalorian the next time around. The Mandalorian is already filming Season 2!
For now, you can watch and rewatch the eight episodes of The Mandalorian to your heart's delight, along with all four seasons of Star Wars Rebels, and the original run of Clone Wars during the wait for the Clone Wars' revival premiere in February as one of the many shows in the 2020 winter and spring TV premiere schedule.