Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker saw Emperor Palpatine resurrected to up the ante for the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga. That was hard enough for fans to wrap their heads around, but then the Sith Lord revealed that he had constructed an enormous fleet of super-powerful ships in secret from the confines of backwater planet Exegol. Just how did Palpatine build the Final Order armada though, with each ship being made up of world-destroying weaponry, without the rest of the galaxy knowing?
That’s the head-scratcher that fans have had to wrestle with for months, but this new theory has offered up a good possible solution to the mystery. Reddit user u/Luy22 has suggested that Palpatine’s temple – officially known as the Sith Citadel – on the planet is actually a powerful and ancient piece of dark side tech pulled from the Legends universe: a Star Forge. As the theorist puts it:
“Hear me out here my dudes: the enormous pyramid/ziggurate structure on Exogol was a Star Forge. Or Exogol itself was a frozen-over Star Forge. idk if it explains what that thing was or why the ships were under the ice, but…”
As featured in the Knights of the Old Republic games, the original Star Forge was a vast automated shipyard that drew energy and matter from a nearby sun, combined with the power of the Force itself, to create an endless supply of warships – the aim being to use it to construct the most powerful army of all time. The idea that Palpatine could have used one in TROS is actually very clever, as an expert in Sith history like him would be aware of its existence and would know that it would suit his purpose: to build the Final Order to crush his enemies once and for all.
The official explanation for the armada was actually revealed in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker‘s Visual Dictionary, which stated that Palpatine’s Sith following included influential people in galactic society who were able to help him construct the fleet in secret. However, this theory might actually be better.