Star Wars isn't just the movies we know and love. The space opera long ago expanded beyond just the films, and although Disney declared much of the extended media non-canon, there's still much, much more to the franchise than our annual dose of Star Wars cinematic goodness. And perhaps the most important of all the extra #StarWars stories is the animated show Star Wars: Rebels — airing on Disney XD, this series is the successor to the popular Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Documenting the origins of the Rebel Alliance, Rebels is a fantastic show, and has become increasingly relevant to the movies, tying into Rogue One neatly and even setting up plot points for Star Wars Episode VIII to explore.
Suffice it to say, this show is well worth a watch, and Season 3 has so far exceeded even Season 2's impressive high points — I don't know about you, but watching Darth Vader battle his once-devoted apprentice Ahsoka Tano was one of the most emotional scenes in the entirety of Star Wars. But in #StarWarsRebels Season 3, the Mandalorian Sabine Wren has had a development arc to rival even Ahsoka's, as she faces the mysteries of her past and her connection to the infamous Death Watch.
An Elegant Weapon For A Less Civilized Age
As the season continues post mid-season hiatus, much of Sabine's story is about her choice to wield the darksaber, a dangerous weapon wielded by Pre Vizsla, the leader of the Death Watch. This weapon first appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and was conceived as the anti-lightsaber — it is the only bladed weapon powerful enough to hold its own against the Kyber crystal-enhanced lightsaber blade. And as comicbook.com reveals, this weapon wasn't just created by a legend within the canon, but was also invented by a great mind in our world.
Originally, Pre Vizsla did not wield the darksaber in The Clone Wars, but attempted to use vibroblades against a lightsaber. As with many aspects of the Star Wars canon, this was altered after a casual conversation between creators — in this case, between The Clone Wars and Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni, and George Lucas himself.
"When George saw [the vibroblade], he kind of said ‘yeah, I’ve heard to those things. But there’s no way it could stop a lightsaber. And that’s where George created the darksaber."
Far more powerful than any vibroblade, the darksaber is a dangerous and corrupting weapon, but in the right hands it can be very powerful. Ultimately, Darth Maul acquired the darksaber during The Clone Wars, but the fate of the weapon remained ambiguous — until it popped up again in Rebels.
But despite its dark past, originally the darksaber was created by the Jedi in the distant past, but for one reason or another the Jedi discarded this weapon in favor of the lightsaber. As co-exec producer Henry Gilroy told comicbook.com, Season 3 of Rebels will explore this aspect of the darksaber's history — and what impact this will have on the Mandalorians.
"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. 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."
Sabine's plotline relies heavily on the darksaber, as the show's writers are transforming it from a notorious weapon to a force for good. This has made for an intriguing thread in Season 3 so far, and we can't wait to see how this turns out — especially considering that one of the projects Jyn found in Rogue One was entitled "black saber", which is another name for the weapon. It seems that the Empire may have its eye on Sabine and the darksaber, as if the crew of the Ghost didn't have enough to worry about already!
Tell us in the comments: What's your favorite part of Rebels Season 3 so far?