After the darksaber having appeared in Star Wars The Clone Wars, the darksaber re-appears in Star Wars Rebels, with further significance developed for it in this show.
The darksaber first appears in Star Wars Rebels in the third season episode “Voices and Visions”, in which Ezra Bridger sees it in Darth Maul’s lair on Dathomir, and asks him about it: “Is that a lightsaber?”, Maul responds “Indeed, yes, but not like any that you would know. If your Mandalorian friend was here,” Maul laughs, then continues, “she could explain it to you.” In the course of the episode, a Nightsister spirit inhabits Sabine Wren, who wields it against Ezra until the spirit is no longer within her. While Ezra briefly wields the darksaber, he eventually drops it, with Sabine picking up the darksaber in the final scene, and curiously eyeing it before taking it with her back to the ship.
The origins of the darksaber are revealed to Kanan Jarrus by Fenn Rau, a Mandalorian, who tells him that the darksaber is “a symbol for the leader of House Vizsla and, later, the group known as Death Watch.” He goes on to say that
Legend tells that it was created over a thousand years ago by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order. After his passing, the Jedi kept the saber in their temple. That was until members of House Vizsla snuck in and liberated it. They used the saber to unify the people and strike down those who would have opposed them. One time, they ruled all of Mandalore wielding this blade. This saber is an important symbol to that house and respected by the other clans.
However, Kanan tells Fenn Rau that Sabine doesn’t care for it: “After we got back from Dathomir, she gave it to me for safekeeping and hasn’t brought it up since.” Fenn Rau then diagnoses the situation, “She doesn’t want the responsibility. Kanan, if Sabine can wield this saber, she can reunite one of the most powerful houses in all of Mandalore.”
Sabine Wren Trains to Use the Darksaber
After reluctantly agreeing to train to use the darksaber, Sabine goes with Kanan and Ezra to train on Atollon, beginning with sticks to stand in for lightsabers. Eventually, after frustration by both Kanan and Sabine, they eventually have Sabine training with the darksaber, whereupon her igniting of it, she notes, “It’s heavier than I thought.” Kanan responsds that, “Energy constantly flows through the crystal. You’re not fighting with a simple blade as much as you are directing a current of power. Your thoughts, your actions, they become energy. They flow through the crystal as well, and become a part of the blade.” Once he activates his lightsaber, he comments that, “The blades will be drawn to each other.”
Through their sparring, Kanan addresses Sabine, “Can you feel it? That sword is old, heavy, but powerful. Respect its strength.” As they continue, Sabine remarks that, “The blade feels lighter.” At this observation, Kanan tells Sabine that, “You’re connecting with it. It’s becoming a part of you. But you cannot rely solely on the blade. You must use all your skills together.” Eventually, she has an emotional breakthrough and develops a greater sense of comfort with herself, her crew, and willingness to connect with her family.
Sabine Discusses the Darksaber with Her Mother
Upon arriving at her mother’s house, Sabine is held at gunpoint, but she then brings out the darksaber and says, “Mother, we need to talk.” And her mother, the Countess Ursa Wren, is shocked, “The darksaber?!?” In a follow-up conversation in private, Ursa Wren queries, “You believe the darksaber will protect you? It won’t. It’s only a symbol.” Sabine responds, “Yeah, a symbol that’s united all Mandalorians in the past. Look, if we stand together now-” To which Ursa Wren interjects, “Stand together? Sabine, it’s everything I can do to keep the other clans from destroying us because of what you did.” Later on in the same conversation, we hear the following:
Ursa: “Find you? Sabine, when you ran away, it saved you. Don’t you understand? Coming back here has put you in danger. As much danger as holding that blade. Where did you get it?”
Sabine: “From Maul.”
Ursa: “You won it from him in combat?”
Sabine: “Uh, not exactly, I-”
Ursa: “Then you have no claim to it.”
Sabine: “Well, I’m holding it. That’s a pretty good claim.”
Ursa: “Anyone can hold the darksaber. The trick is keeping it, along with your head. Do you even know how to wield that blade?”
Sabine: “You’d be surprised.”
While there’s more to the exchange, at the end, Sabine entrusts her mother with the darksaber, handing it off to her.
Gar Saxon Wields the Darksaber in Battle
Little does Sabine know, however, that her mother has entered into a deal with Gar Saxon, whereupon Ursa Wren tosses the darksaber to him once Kanan, Ezra, and Sabine are all held at blasterpoint. Amidst the ensuing battle, Gar Saxon swings the darksaber at Ursa Wren, but Sabine intercedes with a lightsaber that Ezra had tossed to her. Sabine and Saxon engage in a lightsaber duel. They continue to duel until Sabine knocks the darksaber out of Gar Saxon’s hand, and she retrieves it, with her holding a green lightsaber in one hand and the darksaber in the other, positioning them to easily remove Gar Saxon’s head. Eventually, with the battle won, Fenn Rau tells Sabine, “All of Clan Wren saw who you’ve become. You could lead Mandalore.” However, Sabine retorts, “No. This was about my family. I’m not Mandalore’s leader. But I’ll find the person who is.”
While not technically part of Star Wars Rebels, per se, there is a Star Wars Forces of Destiny short, “Art History”, in which we see Sabine wielding the darksaber on Mandalore, accompanied by her brother, Tristan, as they come across the statue of Tarre Vizsla, which is now covered in an Imperial outpost. “We can’t leave that there; it’s disrespectful,” Sabine says. “It’s not just some statue – it’s important to Mandalore.” They then ascend the structure, lay some explosives, as well as Sabine slashing parts of the structure with the darksaber, before exploding it.
Sabine Uses the Darksaber in Attacks on Mandalore
In the beginning of the fourth season of Star Wars Rebels, we see Sabine wielding the darksaber in both parts of the season opener “Heroes of Mandalore”, with her leading a charge against an Imperial outpost where her father is believed to be held. Following this attack, Sabine meets Bo-Katan Kryze and addresses her, “Your commitment to Mandalore’s freedom is legendary, my lady. This belongs to you,” whereupon Sabine holds out the darksaber for Bo-Katan, yet she refuses: “I had my chance to rule, and I failed. I am not my sister. I am not the leader you seek.”
We see her further using the darksaber in an attack on an Imperial convoy carrying her father, and then finally in a raid on Tiber Saxon’s Star Destroyer near Sundari.
Sabine Wren Hands Off the Darksaber to Bo-Katan Kryze
Following this attack, however, Sabine approaches Bo-Katan with the darksaber again: “With your guidance. You have the wisdom of a ruler. There’s no one I trust to wield the Darksaber more than you. And I am not alone.” We then hear from representatives from Clan Vizsla, Clan Rook, Clan Eldar, Clan Kryze, Clan Wren, and the Protectors who are all behind Bo-Katan accepting the darksaber and Mandalorian leadership. Sabine then says to Bo-Katan, “Now I understand why the saber came to me: it came to me so I could pass it to you.” The final scene we see of the darksaber in Star Wars Rebels is Bo-Katan announcing, “I accept this sword for my sister, for my clan, and for all of Mandalore.” She then lifts it above her head, with the various Mandalorians accepting her leadership.