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What Mandalorian Fans Don't Know About The Original Darksaber

In the closing moments of The Mandalorian's first season, the man who was once Gus from Breaking Bad displayed his lack of enthusiasm for exploding a second time, slicing through the side of a TIE fighter before it could blow him up into that long goodnight. But it wasn't his survival that kicked nerds in the teeth. It was the means of his emergency exit, the Star Wars universe's last word in Jedi weaponry that's not just a goth phase, Mom: the Darksaber.

The Darksaber is pretty much exactly what it sounds like — a lightsaber, but with more bleak pizzazz. Boasting an ebony blade and a guarded hilt, it was created by the first Mandalorian Jedi, passed down to the leader of the beskar-adorned warrior race across the generations, with plenty of dramatic pit stops along the way. Darth Maul wielded it for a spell, an dit popped its monochrome head up in the Clone Wars series pretty frequently. If the tidbits of information already sprinkled throughout the second season of The Mandalorian are any indication, it's the big MacGuffin of the show's sophomore year.

But what you might not know is that this weapon wasn't the first one to go by the "Darksaber" moniker. "No," to quote Yoda, "there is another." Or there was, anyway, back before Disney threw 40 years of expanded universe canon down the reactor shaft.

The Mandalorian's Darksaber isn't the first — or the worst

It was the mid-'90s, and science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson was keeping busy writing a series of Star Wars novels and comics. 1996 saw the release of one such book, helpfully titled Darksaber.

Darksaber's title referred to a weapon in the novel that went by the same name. But rather than offering readers a lightsaber that could illuminate all of the gross parts of a hotel room, Anderson envisioned a superweapon capable of (stop us if you've heard this one) destroying entire planets. The Darksaber was a ship, significantly more mobile than the Death Star but with all the same potential for bulldozing Alderaan. Also, it was built in the shape of a lightsaber hilt.

The story is pretty wild. At one point, Luke Skywalker runs into a pack of wampas being led by the one he dismembered at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. And as great as it would be to report that the rebellion destroyed the Darksaber ship by building their own giant lightsaber and then having a 20-story sword fight, the eponymous weapon gets smashed by a couple of asteroids instead. As planet-crushing superweapon endings go, that's pretty much on par with sucking a goose into your engine.