This Star Wars: The Mandalorian article contains spoilers.
If there’s one thing the galaxy far, far away, loves, it’s a good MacGuffin. From R2-D2’s secret Death Star plans to Sith Wayfinders, we’ve seen many of these storytelling devices over the past 46 years. Interestingly enough, The Mandalorian season 3 has just discarded one such MacGuffin in monumental style. In one fateful scene in “The Return,” showrunner Jon Favreau and executive producer Rick Famuyiwa put an end to thousands of years of Mandalorian history.
Star Wars has equally made its name on hard goodbyes, but in The Mandalorian, forget the heroic demise of Paz Vizsla, the fiery farewell of Moff Gideon, or even the realization we’ll likely never see Pedro Pascal beneath Din Djarin’s helmet again, the real loss of season 3 is the Darksaber.
The Long History of the Darksaber
Introduced in season 2 of The Clone Wars because George Lucas didn’t want Pre Vizsla (also voiced by Favreau) fighting with a vibroblade, this unique lightsaber has become as iconic as the ones wielded by Luke Skywalker and Mace Windu — boasting more history than either. Created by ancient Mandalorian Jedi Tarre Vizsla around 1050 BBY (more than a millennia before A New Hope, basically), the fact he was the first Mandalorian inducted into the Jedi Order already made his weapon of choice a big deal. But legend has also transformed the blade into a powerful symbol of the Mand’alor, the warrior leader of the Mandalorians. The Darksaber grants great political power to its wielder based on tradition. That’s why it’s long been coveted by Bo-Katan as a way to reunite her people and take back their homeworld.
Ever since Moff Gideon carved himself out of his crashed fighter with the Darksaber in The Mandalorian season 1 finale, the black blade has been central to the show’s story. Mando accidentally claimed it off Gideon in the season 2 finale, Paz Vizsla challenged Din for it in The Book of Boba Fett, and it briefly looked like Bo-Katan would break bad in her quest to rule Mandalore.
Throughout The Mandalorian season 3, the Darksaber continued to be a driving force. As well as Din being bested by a cyborg spider monster (technically, making this creature the rightful heir to the weapon), there was the fight between Axe Woves and Bo-Katan, before the latter’s climactic duel with Moff Gideon. But after having survived numerous Mandalorian civil wars and unworthy owners, the Darksaber went out with a whimper when crushed by Gideon and his shiny beskar suit in the season 3 finale.
You Can ‘Bo’ Your Own Way
As reactions online show, fans aren’t happy about the Darksaber’s destruction. On Reddit, one user wrote, “Damn, didn’t think they’d destroy the Darksaber like that. Thing was one of Dave’s favorite creations/additions to the Star Wars universe.” Someone on Twitter lamented, “Just realizing that they really DESTROYED the Darksaber after all the history and build-up it has had in the Star Wars universe.” A third Redditor mourned, “It’s the second most emotional death of a non-character, behind Kamino in Bad Batch season 1.”
While it’s clear you’re conflicted about the Darksaber being dispatched easier than your average Stormtrooper, it puts The Mandalorian in an interesting position ahead of season 4. Gideon’s “death” means the Empire is no longer obsessed with stealing the artifact from the Mandalorians, while no one can challenge Bo to a duel to claim it and depose her. Gideon clearly thought that destroying the Darksaber would make it impossible to unite the warring Mandalorian factions, but as we saw with Bo at the head of the pack in the relit Great Forge, it doesn’t look like her followers are going to abandon her again just because the Darksaber is no more.
Of course, much like how we’re clinging onto theories Moff Gideon isn’t gone forever, The Mandalorian season 4 could have its own “somehow, the Darksaber returned.” Some have theorized that the Darksaber could still have a part to play and will be found in the rubble of Mandalore’s Imperial base. The first trailer for Ahsoka confirmed that David Tennant will reprise his role as Huyang from The Clone Wars, and with the droid professor known for helping Jedi craft their lightsabers, he’s definitely got the skills to fix the Darksaber. The Huyang theory fits neatly, but we ask ourselves, what’s the point of fixing the Darksaber?
New Republic, New Era
Much like Paz reached the end of his arc, there’s no need for the Darksaber to continue being a part of the history of Mandalore. After all, if this is really meant to be the dawn of a new era for Mandalore, as the Armorer’s prophecy foretold, then what better way to change this tradition and often sketchy way of clinging to power? As someone on Twitter rightly concluded, “It’s time for Mandalore to be ruled with honor rather than an inanimate symbol of power!”
There’s an arguably more important piece of Mandalorian history waiting in the wings, and even though the season 3 finale didn’t make good on its Mythosaur payoff, we got another tease of the legendary Mandalorian beast via a parting shot of it lurking in the Living Waters. It’s a nice idea to picture Bo-Katan riding into battle while wielding the Darksaber atop the Mythosaur, but we’re guessing she’ll still use the beast as her mount at some point. Many fans really want to see that!
As for the Darksaber itself, its untimely destruction will go down in history as being as underwhelming as the demise of Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma (both deaths). Considering we made such a big deal of Din Djarin declaring Bo-Katan as the Darksaber’s rightful owner just two episodes before, it’s strange to have dispatched it so quickly. Then again, what’s a Star Wars MacGuffin for? It’s just a crying shame we (probably) won’t get to see a teenage Din Grogu wield the Darksaber alongside Daisy Ridley’s Rey in the recently announced The Rise of Skywalker sequel.
The Mandalorian season 3 is streaming now on Disney+.