The Mandalorian took its time to get to the story's heart, but it was worth the wait. The series began as a story of a bounty hunter who breaks the rules and saves his quarry, aka The Child (Baby Yoda), from The Client (Werner Herzog). But after a series of planet-of-the-week adventures, the show revealed the real villain Mando and Child were on the run from and the legendary weapon he carries. This twist in The Mandalorian Season 1 finale when the Darksaber turned up was a huge Star Wars Easter egg.
Warning: Spoilers for The Mandalorian follow.
The Mandalorian's final scene revealed that despite his TIE Fighter crashing, Moff Gideon was alive. As Jawas swarmed the wreckage for parts, a flash of light suddenly cut through the metal. As viewers watched, something sliced a hole in the TIE Fighter outer hull, and out popped Gideon. In his hand, he held what looked like a lightsaber, but somehow all wrong. Instead of a bright beam of light, it was like an anti-beam — a blade made of darkness with only a shimmering outline to show where it was in space.
This is the Darksaber, an item never seen in the live-action Star Wars films. But it's an essential weapon that fans of the Star Wars animated TV series know well.
The Darksaber first appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the TV series that was set between the events of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. It was, according to Star Wars lore, a weapon created by the first Mandalorian to become a Jedi. The series featured Obi-Wan and Anakin as a pair of Jedi fighters working to keep order in the galaxy. These two first encountered the Darksaber when they ran into Pre Vizsla, the Governor of Concordia and evil leader of Death Watch.
During the series, Vizsla first teamed up with (and then betrayed) Darth Maul, the famous Sith leader who appeared in both the prequel trilogy and in Solo: A Star Wars Story. In retaliation, Maul challenged Vizsla to a duel and won the Darksaber.
With a history like that, one wouldn't be all that surprised an ex-Imperial might be the one to wield such a weapon. But in Star Wars: Rebels, the Darksaber was passed to Sabine Wren, a Mandalorian warrior and revolutionary leader. She eventually gave it to Bo-Katan Kryze, who planned to use it to rally the Mandalorians to the rebel cause to help bring down the Empire.
That was the last time anyone saw the Darksaber. Somehow, between then and now, the weapon passed from Bo-Katan's hands to Moff Gideon. How and why remain to be seen.
The Mandalorian Season 2 will arrive in the fall of 2020.