The second season of The Mandalorian ended with a twist that no one saw coming, but it could also contain hints as to what the future holds for the people of Mandalore.
In “Chapter 8: Redemption,” Din Djarin defeats Moff Gideon by blowing up his TIE fighter. But the hardly surprising cliffhanger had the big bad emerge unscathed from the spacecraft. What made Star Wars fans almost screech, though, wasn’t the fact that he was still alive, but the visual of the Darksaber cutting through the metal shell, with the legendary Mandalorian weapon formerly believed to be in the hands of Bo-Katan.
Season 2 finally addresses this by featuring the debut of the aforementioned character in live-action form. When she appeared, we learned that she was trying to track down Moff Gideon to reclaim the weapon. As you may know, according to ancient Mandalorian belief, the person who wields the saber can unite the clans and reign over Mandalore. Though based on a new theory, the Darksaber was the reason their society fell in the first place.
After the rise of the Empire, Palpatine sought to subjugate Mandalore. But when that didn’t work, an era, now known as the Great Purge, befell the Mandalorians, with the Imperial legions laying waste to their homeworld and gathering their beskar. The remaining clans went into hiding in different parts of the galaxy, waiting for the proper moment to rise up.
The Mandalorian reveals that Bo-Katan is still fighting to reunite her people, thinking that the ancient beliefs will help her accomplish this goal. But when Din Djarin’s gang storms Moff Gideon’s cruiser, the protagonist engages him in a saber duel, defeating him and taking the Darksaber for himself. Mando isn’t after the throne of Mandalore, of course, so he offers up the weapon to Bo-Katan. The way that sequence plays out almost makes it seem like the rebel leader is afraid of taking it, though, where in reality she’s already done so in Star Wars Rebels.
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In Dave Filoni’s animated series, Sabine Wren gives it up and Bo-Katan takes it without a second’s hesitation. So, what’s changed since then? Well, we know that Mandalorians are a superstitious people, hellbent on holding onto old customs and thoughts. In that sense, Bo-Katan might fear that breaking the rules of the Darksaber is what led to the Great Purge, which is why she’s hesitant to claim it for herself this time around.
As ScreenRant explains:
If her accepting the Darksaber without combat means her rule is illegitimate, perhaps Bo Katan and/or the rest of the Mandalore people believe the purge and loss of Mandalore was their comeuppance for accepting a leader who violated the Darksaber’s most sacred tradition. This would also explain why Bo Katan believes she needs the Darksaber to take Mandalore back, as well as the fact that she only has a few other supporters with her. She may need to get the Darksaber back, legitimately this time, to prove herself worthy of taking the planet back again.
It’s certainly an interesting theory to ponder, and one that we hope will be addressed in the third season when the show returns in 2022.