WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series finale, streaming now on Disney+.
The final arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars saw the conclusion of the Mandalorian conflict that proved to be a central point for so much of the show’s latter seasons. When the planet of noble warriors were most divided, the Sith Lord Darth Maul seized control of a rebellious faction seeking to bend the planet to its will, and when Ahsoka Tano helped capture Maul, it was of the utmost importance he stay captured. The Mandalorians did exactly that with an anti-Force prison…but why did they have a device like that on hand?
The explanation was briefly hinted at in the series’ penultimate episode, with the Mandalorian leader Bo-Katan dropping a reference to a previous conflict between Jedi and Mandalorians explaining much of the animosity between the two. The Clone Wars packed a lot into a little with the reference, simultaneously showing just how deep the shared conflict runs and just how far the Mandalorians grew to overcome it.
The Mandalorian sarcophagus that imprisons Maul was explained to specifically counter Force abilities, completely binding the Sith’s every limb while rendering any attempts at unlatching his restraints ineffectual. Later on the in the episode, following Order 66, Ahsoka is forced to manually free Maul so he can aid in her escape. Obviously the sarcophagus works, and apparently it saw was used quite a bit in the Mandalorian-Jedi war.
The conflict between the Jedi and the Mandalorians received far more attention in the Expanded Universe, but even in the canon it exists as a source of contention between the groups. The fiercely independent Mandalorians resisted Jedi involvement in their planet’s affairs, yet their often warlike culture led to them butting heads with the frequently pacifistic Jedi time and again. The result was a long tradition of battle between the two, and the Mandalorians developed many methods for resisting the Jedi’s unique capabilities.
Many Mandalorian weapons and fighting techniques emphasize fighting at range in order to best put distance between Jedi and their lightsabers, and while they lack the raw power of the Force they often make up for it in sheer variety and versatility. Even the Mandalorian jetpacks help the warriors to stay competitive with Jedi agility and Force jumps. The Mandalorian sarcophagus was just one in a long line of anti-Jedi methods the group found.
But the time eventually came for the warrior race to set it aside, along with many of their more violent customs. The Mandalorian Civil War led to the more pacifistic among the culture prevailing, and a de-escalation of conflict with the Jedi ensued. The Duchess Satine outlawed the anti-Jedi prisons and disposed of many of them, and their newest leader in The Clone Wars finale assured Ahsoka that Maul inhabited the very last one.
However, the terrorist organization Death Watch, which Maul headed and originally formed the violent faction opposing Satine, held onto the greatest symbol of Mandalorian and Jedi relations: the Darksaber. Maul claimed the weapon while leading Death Watch, but it would survive the conflict long past most of those fighting within it.
The weapon is said to have been wielded by an ancient Mandalorian Jedi, showing that relations between the two factions were once far more peaceful than they had been for years. Considering that the weapon reappeared in the finale to The Mandalorian, where Ahsoka Tano is expected to debut in the series’ next season, could hint that the back-and-forth relationship between the Jedi and the Mandalorians is destined to continue from here on out.
The Mandalorians have a long history of combating Force-users, and Darth Maul's restraints aren't the least of it.