The darksaber was featured heavily in the previous Star Wars animated series the Clone Wars and recently returned to prominence in Rebels, now being wielded by the Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren.
The weapon’s significance was explored in the Star Wars Rebels episode “Trials of the Darksaber,” in which Sabine trained with Kanan and Ezra, but a recent webisode of Rebels Recon explained the darksaber’s importance behind the scenes.
According to executive producer Dave Filoni, the darksaber came about from Star Wars creator George Lucas when he learned of the villain Pre Viszla using vibroblade in duels against lightsabers.
“When George saw that, he kind of said ‘yeah, I’ve heard to those things. But there’s no way it could stop a lightsaber,’” Filoni explained. “And that’s where George created the darksaber.”
Viszla wielded the darksaber for a time during the Clone Wars until he was bested in combat by Darth Maul, who continued to wield the weapon. That series ended without revealing the weapon’s fate, and when Rebels picked up the story years later the producers had an idea for the darksaber.
“This was an opportunity for us to kind of widen the mythology of the darksaber and kind of give an idea of how it was connected to the Jedi,” said Henry Gilroy, co-executive producer of Rebels. “And this particular case, the ruling parties of House Viszla had used the sword for many generations to keep power. So there’s a sense that people would follow a sword if they believed who was wielding it.”
The episode “Trials of the Darksaber” depicts Sabine struggling in her training with Kanan and Ezra as well as her own heritage as a Mandalorian. But by the episode’s end she is on a new path to embrace her destiny and chooses to wield the darksaber.
Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels is currently on a brief hiatus and will return to Sabine’s journey on February 18th with the episode “Legacy of Mandalore.”
Hoping to get her family to help the rebels, Sabine returns home with Kanan and Ezra, and finds herself embroiled in her family's power struggle for Mandalore.
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Star Wars Rebels airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD, and follows the adventures of Hera (Vanessa Marshall), Sabine (Tiya Sircar), Zeb (Steve Blum), and the Jedi Kanan (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and Ezra (Taylor Gray), a small crew that's finding their way in the nascent Rebel Alliance a few years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Executive produced by Simon Kinberg and Dave Filoni, the in-canon series helps to connect the worlds of the films and the previous animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with guest appearances so far by characters like Lando Calrissian, Ahsoka Tano, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Leia Organa, Wedge Antilles, and more.