Jon Favreau Has Always Been Connected To The Star Wars Darksaber Since Its Creation

With the runaway success of Lucasfilm's "The Mandalorian," it's easy to forget that the titular warrior race were once a little known aspect of "Star Wars" lore. The Mandalorians' legendary culture — and their fabled weapon, the Darksaber – was introduced roughly a decade ago in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," the animated series that used to be something of a blindspot for fans. But "The Mandalorian" brought a huge chunk of the animated lore into live-action, which gave "The Clone Wars" and its sister show, "Star Wars: Rebels," cause for reevaluation.

The narrative parallels between the series make sense, given the connective tissue they share. "The Mandalorian" is executive produced by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, two figures that each helped shape Mandalorian culture in their own way. The duo first met at Skywalker Ranch in 2009, where Favreau was in post-production for a little film called "Iron Man," and Filoni was hard at work on the first season of "The Clone Wars." Their fateful meeting would inform an unforgettable arc for the series: "The Mandalore Plot," which introduced both Mandalorians and the Darksaber to the canon for the first time.

The birth of the Darksaber

Though the concept of Mandalorian culture seems relatively new, "Star Wars" creator George Lucas was developing it years before "The Clone Wars." The series presented the perfect opportunity to introduce the warrior race, much to the delight of the "Clone Wars" crew.

Introducing Mandalore was high on the priority list for Filoni, then supervising director for the series. "A lot of people on the crew wanted to see the Mandalorians," Filoni told back in 2010. The buzz even reached Favreau at Skywalker Ranch, who managed to talk himself into a part on "The Clone Wars." Favreau recalled:

"I had mentioned that I would love to do a voice, and that I'd done voices before — and the idea for me to play a Mandalorian came up. I wasn't holding out for a cool character, but I think the Mandalorians are probably the ones that the die-hards are going to be the most curious about."

Favreau was later cast as Pre Vizsla, the descendant of Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian Jedi and heir to the Darksaber. The Darksaber was actually an element added late in the game, after Favreau had recorded the episode with different dialogue. Originally his character fought Obi-Wan Kenobi using a vibroblade. It is, as its name suggests, basically a sword that gets hot when it vibrates — probably not the best weapon to use against a Jedi. "George didn't like the logic of vibroblade being able to parry a lightsaber," Favreau recalled. And thus, the Darksaber was born.

More Manda-lore

With the new weapon came a fair amount of backstory to support it. Lucas rewrote Pre's dialogue to explain the origins of the Darksaber, and Favreau returned to record the new lines. "I had to read the whole monologue about how it was found in a Jedi Temple," Favreau explained. "And I was telling my wife; she's like, 'That's the coolest thing in the world.' And it became so cool that we ended up making a whole TV show about it."

In hindsight, it makes total sense that Favreau would go on to create "The Mandalorian," given his connection to the material. "I definitely feel a connection to the Darksaber, because I was the first one to wield it," he told The idea of an ancient Mandalorian Jedi also seemed like a spin-off waiting to happen. But back in 2010, Favreau "had no idea" that something like "The Mandalorian" was even possible. "At the time it just felt like we were doing things that seemed fun and cool," he admitted.

Not only was "The Mandalorian" possible, it was just the tip of the iceberg. The series has spawned a "Star Wars" renaissance on Disney+, and Favreau and Filoni are at the center of it all. The duo's time on "The Clone Wars" provided fertile ground for this next phase of the franchise, and it all pretty much began with the Darksaber and the legend of Tarre Vizsla:

"That whole idea and how profound that thing is, that Tarre Vizsla was both Mandalorian and Jedi, that implies so much because those were two diametrically opposed warring factions. So, what does that mean? These are the clues that we look for, these little anomalies and things that instead of shying away from, we sort of delve into and explore."

Find out how it all continues with new episodes of "The Mandalorian" debuting on Wednesday on Disney+.