“Exegol does not appear on any star chart. But legend describes it as the hidden world of the Sith.”
Nor did it appear on any of our radars, as before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker launched into theaters, Exegol was an unknown entity – a total mystery located in the dark recesses of space.
It later became the hiding place of Darth Sidious (“the dead speak!”), as J.J. Abrams and Co. sought about resurrecting the franchise’s big bad and his so-called Final Order. This grandiose plan to destabilize the Jedi emerged from the shadows of Exegol, but had things panned out differently, Emperor Palpatine would’ve been stationed on the forgotten, ash-covered world of Coruscant when Episode IX kicked off.
That’s according to author Phil Szostak, who penned The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (h/t ScreenRant), who traced Kylo’s journey to find Palpatine in an early draft of Episode IX.
Instead of finding his way to Exegol, in the early November 2017 version of The Rise of Skywalker story, Kylo Ren instead takes his shuttle to a desolate, ash-covered Coruscant, the once-bustling city streets now overrun by giant wolves. Inside the abandoned Jedi Temple, Kylo takes a central elevator down to the temple’s deepest level.
Placing Palpatine within the ruins of the Galactic Republic would have been a fitting way to tie things together with the Prequel Trilogy, but J.J. Abrams and Episode IX co-writer Chris Terrio ultimately decided against it, instead choosing to have Darth Sidious enact his evil plan from the depths of Exegol.
It proved to be the final battleground for the Resistance, too, after Lando Calrissian (and Chewie!) assembled a massive fleet to take down the Star Destroyers and effectively sink Palpatine’s plan before it took flight. Quite literally, as it were.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now available to stream via Disney+, completing the entire nine-part Skywalker Saga. But if you’ve had enough of Skywalkers and Palpatines, there’s always The Mandalorian, which contains perhaps the ultimate Star Wars crowd-pleaser in Baby Yoda.