Major spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian Episode 8.
If you’ve been following along with The Mandalorian on Disney+, there’s a good chance you’ve been enjoying the lore drops that connect to far-flung aspects of the Star Wars universe. (And if you have questions, that’s fine; so do we!) The finale, “Redemption”, may have just delivered the biggest tie-ins so far, bits of lore that may be obscure to casual viewers but are stand-up-and-shout moments for fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. So while The Mandalorian has used Easter eggs to help progress its own story, the ones revealed in Episode 8 bring together pieces of Star Wars‘ past, present, and the future, i.e. Season 2 of the Disney+ series.
So first, a brief recap: The Mandalorian, Cara Dune, and Greef Karga were hemmed in by newly arrived Imperial Officer Moff Gideon and his platoon of stormtroopers. Elsewhere, two Scout Troopers on speederbikes killed Kuiil and kidnapped Baby Yoda … at least until the rebuilt “nurse droid” IG-11 arrived to take them out and bring the beloved creature back under its protective protocols. IG-11 then rushed in, many weapons blazing, to give the Mandalorian and his allies a chance to escape. It’s here that we learn quite a bit about the title character:
His name is Din Djarin. He was orphaned when his parents were presumably killed in the attack by Separatist battle droids. Though he nearly died himself, young Din was rescued by a squad of Mandalorians who jetpacked in to save the day. An unnamed Mandalorian spirited Din off to safety, leading to the young Foundling joining The Tribe and following in the ways of the Mandalorians by becoming a bounty hunter in a post-Empire universe. And this is where the Easter eggs come in!
While we fully expected that rescuing Mandalorian to be Boba Fett (or at least a Fett fanboy), a look at their shoulder sigil reveals that they’re from Clan Vizsla. That should start ringing alarm bells for fans of the aforementioned animated series since that name is legendary in Mandalorian lore. But it’s also the first tease of what was to come later in this episode:
Just to be clear, Boba Fett’s sigil was that of the Mythosaur, a symbol that Din carries around on a chain and eventually gifts to Baby Yoda. In other words ^ that ain’t Boba Fett ^ despite how much it may resemble him (unless, of course, he happened to change his sigil sometime between rescuing Din and falling into sarlaac pit). But the nod to Clan Vizsla is important in its own right.
The clan has a long history, dating back to before the Old Republic and continuing through the Galactic Republic and the Galactic Empire. Before the fall of the Old Republic, around 1,000 years before the original trilogy, the first Mandalorian Jedi, Tarre Vizsla, created a unique black-bladed lightsaber known as the Darksaber and used this symbol of power to rule as Mand’alor. Upon his death, the Darksaber was kept under guard in the Jedi Temple until members of Clan Vizsla stole it back as the Old Republic fell. The blade was used to dispatch many a Jedi and to rally the people to Clan Vizsla’s cause.
During the Galactic Republic and prior to the Clone Wars, a civil war tore Mandalore apart, leading to a schism between the war-mongering Death Watch (who adopted Clan Vizsla’s sigil) and the pacifistic regime led by Duchess Satine Kryze. Led by Pre Vizsla, who wielded the Darksaber, the Death Watch allied itself with Count Dooku and the confederate systems fighting against the Republic. While that coup against Satine eventually failed, Pre Vizsla then found an alliance with Darth Maul and Savage Opress, which helped secure the position of Mand’alor for Pre … at least until a double betrayal resulted in Darth Maul beheading the Vizsla leader, taking the Darksaber, and usurping control as the new Mand’alor. (Yeah, it’s all crazy.) Maul used the blade to battle his mentor Darth Sidious, but lost both the fight and the weapon. He would eventually retrieve the Darksaber, using it to battle against General Grievous and in a number of other conflicts.
Years later, the weapon was taken by the rebel Sabine Wren, who learned how to properly wield it under the tutelage of Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus. Sabine then used the symbol of power to liberate her family and gain their support before ultimately gifting the blade to Bo-Katan Kryze, a former officer in the Death Watch and leader of the elite Mandalorian unit, the Nite Owls. Sister to the late Satine, Bo-Katan fought for the liberation of Mandalore from both Darth Maul’s rule and eventual overtaking by the Galactic Empire. She led her people through yet another civil war and wielded the Darksaber as Mand’alor.
And for the roughly eight years that follow, we have no working knowledge of the Darksaber’s whereabouts…
So that’s where Moff Gideon comes in. It’s during this time period that the Great Purge occurred, scattering the Mandalorians and forcing those who survived into hiding while also securing beskar steel for the Empire. It seems Gideon, an Imperial Security Bureau officer, was heavily involved with this genocide, which is how he knew Din Djarin’s name, and likely that of his parents who resisted Imperial rule. Gideon is also fascinated with Mandalorian culture, a hazard of the job, it seems. At some point during the intervening years, Gideon came into possession of the Darksaber, which we see at the very end of The Mandalorian finale as he cuts his way out of his downed TIE Fighter. If he won it through honorable combat, Gideon may believe himself to be the Mand’alor, the rightful ruler of all remaining Mandalorians. Or he may just be looking to exterminate the legendary warrior culture altogether as a corrupted form of fandom.
Who knows. What we do know is that Gideon will be tracking Din Djarin and Baby Yoda throughout the known galaxy to whatever end he has in mind. So while we don’t know if The Mandalorian will get to wield the Darksaber and become Mand’alor in earnest, we’re pretty certain that he and Gideon will at least get the chance to square off to see who the best warrior really is. Stay tuned!