Whether you’re looking for a cool bit of Star Wars merch to add to your collection, or to prove your worth to the Mandalorian people, the Mandalorian Darksaber Black Series Force FX Elite is undoubtedly the way.
The Darksaber is unique amongst weapons, both in the Star Wars and Black Series line-up. Traditional lightsabers have a cylindrical blade, but the Darksaber is shaped like an actual sword, with a flat side and a cutting edge. This striking design helps it to stand out from the crowd. After its first appearance in the Clone Wars animated series, we finally got to see what it looked like in live-action thanks to The Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian Darksaber Black Series Force FX Elite is a faithful recreation of the weapon we’ve seen Din Djarin wielding and we’re thoroughly impressed with how it has been realized here. As we’d expect from a weapon built thousands of years ago, there are a few odd design choices and limitations to this blade, but it’s still an easy addition to our best lightsabers collection. A fine addition, you might say.
Disney were kind enough to send us the Black Series Force FX Elite Darksaber, so we put it through its paces. And by that, as always, we mean put on a Mandalorian costume and ran around the house swinging it about, trying not to knock over any ornaments.
Mandalorian Darksaber Force FX Elite Lightsaber: Design & assembly
- Screen accurate design
- Easy to assemble
- Bladed and bladeless options
The Black Series is Hasbro’s premium toy line for Star Wars that includes action figures, collectibles, and lightsabers. You pay a decent chunk of credits for the Black Series name, but that cost is borne out in the quality. The hilt is almost entirely made from metal, which gives it a weighty feel in your hand.
It’s also incredibly screen accurate, as you’d expect from a Black Series replica. It’s actually tough to find good shots of the handle of the Darksaber in The Mandalorian, as it’s usually being held in someone’s hand when it's on screen, but we’ve looked at multiple scenes and we can’t find any discrepancies. The top cover on the hilt has a gloss black finish, while the grip is matte black with dark gray raised details. There are also four lights (really one light and four viewports) embedded in the hilt itself at the top near where the blade starts, just like on the ‘real’ thing.
You can switch between having the blade attached or not, so you can just carry the hilt around or have it hanging from your belt when you’re not preparing to duel. It’s a relatively simple procedure to switch from the blade and hilt-only versions – you just need an Allen key to unscrew the screw near the top of the hilt. This is a great feature that increases the cosplay options for the saber. If you do want to hang the blade from your belt, there is also a small hole in the pommel to allow you to thread string or something else through, which is a nice touch.
When you're not using the Darksaber to retake Mandalore, you can safely store it on a cool vertical display stand that comes with it. Like the saber itself, the stand is all metal and carries over the same premium feel. A horizontal display option would have been nice, but that’s really just us nitpicking.
Mandalorian Darksaber Force FX Elite Lightsaber: Features
- Progressive ignition
- Battle clash, blast deflect, and cutting effects
The Darksaber has an impressive set of lighting and sound effects that it can perform, making it ideal for cosplays and staged shots. Like some of the more recent Black Series models like the Obi-Wan and Darth Vader Force FX Lightsabers, the Darksaber has progressive ignition lighting. This means that when you hit the ignition button, the lights move up the blade to simulate a lightsaber’s iconic ignition effect. Likewise, you also get a progressive de-ignition when you turn it off. This effect looks great and helps to sell the illusion, especially when accompanied by the ignition sound effect.
You get a suite of situational light and sound effects. Once the blade is ignited, there is an ambient humming. Swinging the blade gives off a suitable swooshing sound, while smacking the Darksaber against something will trigger those unmistakable loud clashing noises.
There are also some special effects that you can trigger for cinematic shots and poses. Pressing the small button above the ignition button will make a blaster deflection sound, with the blade flashing to signal the blow. Holding this button down will trigger a molten tip effect to represent the blade cutting through a solid material (like Qui-Gon Jinn cutting the door in Phantom Menace).
Overall, the lights and sound effects do a great job of replicating what we see from the Darksaber on screen. Our only real complaint is that you can see the individual LEDs in the blade as brighter spots along its surface, which does slightly ruin the illusion of it being a single glowing piece. We did also find that the clash detection was a tiny bit too sensitive – if you swing the saber with some force and then stop before hitting anything, the motion can still be enough to trigger the sound sometimes.
It should be noted that while it has clashing effects and you can do some light play dueling with it, this is not a toy or a dueling saber. If you smack two of these against each other repeatedly, and with force, there is a very good chance that you’ll break the LEDs inside.
Mandalorian Darksaber Force FX Elite Lightsaber: Battery life
- Rechargeable battery
- Lasts a long time on a single charge
The Darksaber comes with a rechargeable lithium polymer (LiPo) battery. Hasbro’s website doesn’t make any bold claims about the battery life of the Darksaber, but we’ve been wielding this thing for over a week now and it’s still going strong off a single charge, so the battery life is more than sufficient for a day out at a convention or cosplay event if that’s what you’re looking for.
The only minor irritation is that the battery pack has to be removed from the hilt in order to recharge it. You need to remove the pommel using an Allen key and take the battery out, and then plug it in using the included USB-C charger. This is probably to avoid having an unsightly and lore inaccurate charging port on the hilt, but we’d have maybe preferred a disguised or covered exterior charging port for convenience.
Mandalorian Darksaber Force FX Elite Lightsaber: Price
It costs the same as the other new Black Series Force FX Lightsabers, including the Obi-Wan and Darth Vader models that we reviewed recently. They’re certainly not cheap, but we think they offer great value for money given the build quality, features, and official designs. There are lower priced sabers out there, but you usually sacrifice one of those three things when you go for them.
Should you buy the Mandalorian Darksaber Force FX Elite Lightsaber?
If you’re a Mando fan then The Black Series Mandalorian Darksaber Force FX Elite Lightsaber is a no-brainer. It’s a faithful replication of one of the most iconic weapons from the series. It’s also a great choice for lightsaber collectors who want something a bit different, as it looks unique when compared to the usual sabers.
There are some niggling annoyances. The LEDs that make up the blade are visible when you look closely are the main issue, and not one we’ve seen in other Black Series lightsabers, but it’s probably a consequence of the unique design of the Darksaber. Still, it’s a minor flaw in an otherwise stellar replica. We doubt even the Armorer could have done a better job.
If this isn't the lightsaber you're looking for?
While the Darksaber is undoubtedly cool, most people will probably want a normal lightsaber like those wielded by the Jedi and Sith. The Black Series has you covered there, with sabers to represent almost all of the major characters in Star Wars. If you're siding with the Jedi then the Obi-Wan Kenobi Force FX Elite Lightsaber is our favorite of the bunch. You can pick it up for $278.99 at Amazon.
If it's too late for you and you've fallen to the dark side, then the Darth Vader Force FX Elite Lightsaber is the way to go. This is our highest rated saber, with our reviewer praising the stunning visuals and effects. You can pick one up for $278.99 at Amazon.
On the cheaper side of the force, there are also the Encalife lightsabers. These aren't based on specific character designs, but they're well built, look great and they're perfect for dueling. They're also much cheaper than the official models, with several of their models on sale for $159.97 on Amazon.
There is also plenty of other cool Mando apparel that would go well alongside the Darksaber. The Denuo Novo Mandalorian helmet is a stunning replica of Mando's icnonic helmet, though it costs a bomb at $700. We also checked out Black Series Bo-Katan Kryze helmet recently too and loved it - it's cheaper too, coming in at around $125 at Amazon.