This Star Wars article contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian.
The Book of Boba Fett took a break from mobsters, bacta tanks, and long walks through the desert in “Return of the Mandalorian.” As the title suggests, the fifth episode instead revisits some of the loose threads still dangling after The Mandalorian season 2 finale. Din Djarin is back to his life as a bounty hunter but still not feeling great about the little Baby Yoda he gave away to the Jedi. And he now carries another heavy burden: Din is the rightful wielder of the legendary Darksaber, and therefore the heir to the throne of Mandalore.
We learn pretty quickly in “Return of the Mandalorian” that Din has yet to truly master the weapon. When he uses the blade to take out a group of Klatooinian scum, he does it not with the elegance of a samurai but with the clumsiness of a big brute in beskar armor. Din somehow even manages to hurt himself during the fight sequence, singeing his left leg with the saber’s red hot blade. It’s why he limps for much of the rest of the episode.
Luckily, he finally reunites with the Armorer (Emily Swallow), the leader of his covert, who begins training him in the ways of the Darksaber, a moment that echoes Sabine Wren‘s own training with the weapon on Rebels. The Armorer actually indirectly references Sabine while explaining the long, tragic history of the blade. It’s also during this scene that The Book of Boba Fett clears up a major Star Wars plot hole from The Mandalorian.
If you remember The Mandalorian season 2 finale, Din won the Darksaber from Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). This immediately caused all kinds of drama. When Din tried to offer Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) the weapon she’d been searching for since she first teamed up with the bounty hunter, Gideon laughed and explained that the Darksaber could only be won in battle. But before Din and a very tense Bo-Katan could decide whether it was time to duel, dark troopers showed up to kill them.
This storyline was left unresolved by the end of the episode, but the fact that Din is still carrying the sword in The Book of Boba Fett probably means he settled things with Bo-Katan one way or the other. We likely won’t see what happened there until The Mandalorian season 3, which is currently filming for a late 2022 release. But that’s not the plot hole.
The issue actually involves Gideon’s explanation of how one becomes the rightful wielder of the Darksaber. He says it must be earned in combat, but that’s not how Bo-Katan originally acquired the weapon on Rebels. She was gifted the sword by Sabine after the Mandalorian warrior fought to free their home planet from an Imperial puppet government. Sabine gave her the sword because she felt Bo-Katan would be a good leader for their people.
Since Bo-Katan received the Darksaber as a gift on Rebels, making her ruler of Mandalore, why would she now have to fight Din for the weapon on The Mandalorian? Well, the Armorer explains the difference on The Book of Boba Fett.
“Bo-Katan Kryze is a cautionary tale. She once laid claim to rule Mandalore based purely on blood and the sword you now possess. But it was gifted to her and not won by creed [read: in battle],” the Armorer tells Din. “Her rule ended in tragedy. They lost their way and we lost our world.”
We watch in a flashback as TIE bombers and Imperial combat droids lay waste to Mandalore, killing all on the planet’s surface during the purge known as as “the Night of a Thousand Tears.”
The Armorer reveals that her and Din’s tribe survived because they lived on the moon of Concordia and not on Mandalore, but she also believes they were “spared” because “only those that walked The Way escaped the curse prophesied by the creed.”
What she means is that Bo-Katan was always doomed to fail as ruler of Mandalore because she didn’t win the Darksaber in combat according to the strict creed the more extremist, warrior sects of Mandalorians follow. This is why in The Mandalorian season 2 Bo-Katan is so intent on finding Gideon and defeating him in combat. But when Din unknowingly wins her prize, it creates a whole new issue for her. Basically, if she wants to earn the right to rule according to Mandalorian creed, she needs to beat Din for the Darksaber.
For now, Din’s on the path to becoming the one true Mand’alor (the name bestowed upon the ruler of the Mandalorian people), that is if he can get right with his tribe after admitting he took off his helmet and revealed his face in season 2, which a big no no among his tribe. But even though he might have been labeled an “apostate” by the Armorer and Paz Vizsla (descendant of Darksaber creator Tarre Vizsla), Din still has more claim to the throne than Bo-Katan ever did…
Read more about The Book of Boba Fett here.