The season finale of The Mandalorian retconned an important aspect of Mandalorian culture that was previously explored in Star Wars Rebels.
In the season finale of The Mandalorian tiled Chapter 16: The Rescue, a key aspect of Mandalorian culture is retconned when Din Djarin teams up with Bo-Katan to infiltrate Moff Gideon’s star destroyer.
After the assault team mows down Gideon’s defenses and takes the bridge, Din Djarin, who went to rescue Grogu by himself, confronts Moff Gideon at the brig and defeats him in one on one combat claiming the Darksaber for himself.
After defeating Gideon, Djarin escorts him to the bridge. It’s here where the retcon occurs.
Moff Gideon tells Djarin, “The Darksaber. It belongs to you.” Djarin then attempts to give the weapon to Bo-Katan stating, “Now… it belongs to her.”
Gideon then informs Djarin, “She can’t take it. It must be won in battle. In order for her to wield the Darksaber again, she would need to defeat you in combat.”
When Djarin attempts to yield, Gideon interjects, “Oh, no. It doesn’t work that way. The Darksaber doesn’t have power. The story does. Without that blade, she’s a pretender to the throne.”
Bo-Katan then confirms Gideon’s statements stating, “He’s right.”
This plot point in the episode would be put on hold, when a platoon of Dark Troopers board the ship and launch an attack in an attempt to rescue Gideon and Grogu.
However, as it stands this retcons what we know of the Darksaber from Star Wars Rebels.
As many Star Wars fans know, the Darksaber is a black lightsaber that was created by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian to become a Jedi.
During the Clone Wars the weapon would be wielded by Vizsla’s ancestor and the leader of the Death Watch Pre Vizsla. Vizsla would eventually ally himself with Maul and Savage Opress’ Shadow Collective in order to claim Mandalore as his own.
However, he would betray Maul and Opress, who eventually broke free from their imprisonment. Maul would then disarm Vizsla of the Darksaber and execute him with it. With the Darksaber, Maul would claim leadership of the Death Watch. But Vizsla’s subordinate Bo-Katan would refuse to follow Maul’s leadership.
Nevertheless, the weapon stayed in Maul’s possession until he was defeated by the Emperor on Mandalore.
Maul would be gifted the weapon after he was freed from imprisonment by Death Watch. Notably, Maul did not reclaim the weapon from the Emperor in single combat.
The weapon would eventually be abandoned on Dathomir following a confrontation between the Emperor, Maul, and the Nightsister leader Mother Talzin. It’s there that Sabine Wren discovered the weapon and decided to hold on to it.
In the Star Wars Rebels episode “Trials of the Darksaber” we learn about the Darksaber’s history from Fenn Rau.
Rau tells Kanan, “It is the Darksaber, a symbol for the leader of House Vizsla, and later the group known as Death Watch.”
He continued, “Legend tells that it was created over a thousand years ago by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order. After his passing, the Jedi kept the saber in their temple. That was, until members of House Vizsla snuck in and liberated it.”
“They used the saber to unify the people and strike down those who would oppose them. One time, they ruled all of Mandalore wielding this blade,” he added.
Rau would then state, “This saber is an important symbol to that house and respected by the other clans.” He would later add, “If Sabine can wield this saber, she can reunite one of the most powerful houses in all of Mandalore.”
Wren would eventually train with the Darksaber and attempt to gain the support of Clan Wren for the growing Rebel Alliance. However, Sabine’s mother Ursa Wren would challenge Sabine’s claim to the weapon since she had not defeated Maul in single combat to claim the blade.
When Sabine reveals she did not win the weapon in combat, Ursa states, “Then you have no claim to it.” She would add, “Anyone can hold the Darksaber. The trick is keeping it, along with your head.”
Sabine would eventually win the Darksaber in combat when it was taken from her by the Governor of Mandalore, Gar Saxon, who attempted to claim the weapon for himself and wipe out Clan Wren in one fell swoop.
Saxon’s plan would not work as Wren would use Ezra Bridger’s lightsaber to disarm Saxon and claim the blade.
Sabine would continue to wield the Darksaber using it in a mission to Mandalore to sabotage the Duchess, the weapon she created that specifically targeted Mandalorian armor and allowed the Empire to subjugate the planet.
Following this mission, Sabine would give the weapon to Bo-Katan.
She tells Bo-Katan, “Now I understand why the saber came to me. It came to me so I could pass it to you.”
Bo-Katan claims the weapon saying, “I accept this sword for my sister. For my clan and for all of Mandalore.”
No one challenges Bo-Katan’s leadership, not even Ursa Wren, who had previously challenged Sabine’s right to wield it.
Bo-Katan did not claim the weapon in single combat from Sabine, yet she accepted the responsibility as well as the authority the blade symbolizes.
It’s quite strange then that in this episode she would revert back to wanting to claim the blade in single combat when it is offered to her by Din Djarin.
It is most definitely a retcon at this point in Star Wars continuity. However, that doesn’t leave open the possibility of explaining the retcon.
Off the top of my head, Bo-Katan might need to reclaim the weapon in single combat against Gideon because he previously defeated her and claimed the weapon as his own. If that is the case, the Mandalorian people might have seen Bo-Katan’s loss as a sign of weakness and that she really wasn’t meant to unite and rule them.
In order to prove that she should be the one to reunite and rule Mandalore she would have to reclaim the weapon.
However, it is hard to imagine that Gideon defeated Bo-Katan in single combat given his performance in this season finale against Din Djarin.
What do you make of this retcon?