This Star Wars: The Mandalorian article contains spoilers.
The gloves are off and the blades are drawn, as The Mandalorian season 3 just confirmed a theory that’s bugged fans for weeks. In fact, the show just tied up story threads that go all the way back to when Din Djarin defeated Moff Gideon and inadvertently claimed the Darksaber in the season 2 finale.
Much like Jon Snow not wanting to sit on the Iron Throne in Game of Thrones, Djarin has never wanted to lead the Mandalorian people and rule (what’s left) of Mandalore. There are plenty of willing candidates out there, and although the writing was on the wall since the start of season 3, it’s still great to see Bo-Katan Kryze finally step up as the new leader of these Beskar-clad warriors.
In “Guns for Hire,” Bo-Katan and her new BFF journey to the planet of Plazir-15 in an attempt to unite the clans, regain her fleet, and take back Mandalore. This leads to a tense showdown with Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides), who makes a welcome return as the new leader of Bo-Katan’s former clan of Nite Owls. Under his command, the group has returned to mercenary work, wandering the galaxy on an Imperial Star Cruiser and doing jobs for the highest bidder. But this is not the Way, according Bo-Katan.
During their climactic confrontation in front of the rest of the clan, Axe twists the vibroblade by reminding Bo that her people left her and she can never truly lead Mandalore because a “misguided zealot” has the Darksaber instead of her. Since Bo-Katan refuses to fight Din for the weapon, it seems like she’s gone as far as she can to claim the throne, and her former group have shunned her that. She won’t do what it takes to claim the weapon, so why should they follow a weak leader? Of course, Axe and friends are all assuming that Din still is the rightful wielder of the Darksaber, but we quickly learn things aren’t that simple…
Surprising most of us, Djarin simply hands the Darksaber to Bo-Katan, explaining that she’s already won the Darksaber back by defeating the one who defeated him. For those left scratching their heads, this goes back to the season’s second episode, where Din ran afoul of a cyborg-like spider monster in the mines of Mandalore. Din is disarmed and captured by the creature, forcing Grogu to rush back to Bo-Katan to ask her for help. Bo follows Grogu back to the monster’s lair and uses the Darksaber to kill it and save Din’s hide. Like Din said: the monster took him down in combat, but then Bo-Katan beat the monster using the very blade in question.
Even back then, there were numerous theories that Bo had reclaimed the Darksaber by defeating the spider creature that captured Din. On Reddit, one user wrote, ”I also saw the fact that she saved Din as being part of a story needed to have a legitimate claim to the Darksaber and to rule Mandalore.”
On Twitter, another fan added, “Confident that Bo is the owner of the Darksaber. The thing in episode 2 defeated Mando, then she defeated it. I think they’ll reveal it later and not have to fight for it after all.” Someone else theorized, “Technically in episode 2, Din ‘lost’ in combat to that techno-beast who disarmed him of the Darksaber. Bo then picked it up and used to to do the same. She, in my opinion, had every right to keep the saber at that point and I wonder if this will come up.” Jump forward four episodes, and surprise, surprise, it’s come up.
The history of the Darksaber is a complicated and violent one. After being created by Mandalorian Jedi Tarre Vizsla around 1050 BBY (in other words, over 1,000 years before the Original Trilogy), it was sealed in the Jedi Temple until Mandalorians stole it back, sparking years of war on Mandalore. It was eventually wielded by Tarre’s descendant Pre Vizsla to lead extremist group Death Watch during the Clone Wars, but was lost to Darth Maul when Pre was killed. Mandalorian freedom fighter Sabine Wren recovered it years later on Dathomir and then defeated Gar Saxon for it in the Rebels animated series. But then Sabine simply handed it over to Bo-Katan without fighting for it first.
As Bo was gifted the Darksaber, she wasn’t technically the rightful wielder according to ancient Mandalorian tradition, making her a heretic to Din’s group of religious zealots who believed Bo’s choice to use the weapon despite not earning it in combat had doomed Mandalore. But finally, it sounds like Bo-Katan has truly won the right to lead the Mandalorian people once and for all. Encountering the Mythosaur in the Living Waters also helped, of course.
“The songs of eons past foretold of the Mythosaur rising up to herald a new age of Mandalore,” the Armorer told Din in an episode of The Book of Boba Fett, a prophecy that seems about to come true now that Bo-Katan’s truly in command.
While we were looking forward to an epic duel between Bo-Katan and Din, The Mandalorian has squashed the beef and seemingly taken the idea that Bo will be season 4’s big bad off the table. While plenty were right about the theory on how Bo would get the Darksaber back, it debunks the more interesting theory that she was poised to turn villain to ensure her right to rule Mandalore. The various trailers ahead of the season 3 premiere pitched a brooding Bo sitting on her throne in Kalevala as a major antagonist, but instead, we’ve seen her and Din grow closer. With some odd flirting, it’s led to complaints that season 3 is trying to get us to ship the pair. Whether the franchise’s next Han and Leia or another creepy Syril and Dedra from Andor, a throwaway line where Bo asked Grogu “What are you looking at?” in episode 2 has cued her and Djarin as the next big power couple for some viewers.
As for Bo having the Darksaber without cutting Din down to size, it now sets up a tantalizing conflict between her and a soon-to-be resurgnt Moff Gideon, where they can settle old scores for him bombing Mandalore all those years ago. As you might recall, Mandalore’s current state of disrepair comes down to Bo trying to claim it with the Darksaber, the Empire’s merciless attack, and the mass extermination of Mandalorians that’s led to their scattered ranks. Even though we know Gideon got the Darksaber at some point after the Great Purge, there are gaps in their story that their duel could finally flesh out.
Whether Bo versus Gideon happens in the last two episodes of The Mandalorian season 3 or rolls over into season 4, at least we know she won’t have to spill Din’s blood to get her hands on the thing she most covets. This is the Way.
The Mandalorian season 3 streams Wednesdays on Disney+.