A major question that's been chipped away at is just how Palpatine had a huge Final Order fleet full of planet-destroying ships ready to go on Exegol, despite the fact that he fell to his apparent death three decades earlier.
We've learned that Palpatine came back through the use of clone bodies and that his followers at Exegol are the Sith Eternal. They smuggled parts in from the Sienar-Jaemus and Kuat-Entralla shipyards to Exegol to build the ships, using the "shipwrights, engineers, and slaves" who lived on Exegol.
They might have been able to build the ships and we just about buy the explanation, but how did they manage to find the UNLIMITED POWER that meant each ship had cannons that were effectively mini Death Stars?
Well, we've finally had the answer and it's all to do—somewhat inevitably—with kyber crystals.
Greg Pak and Raffaele Ienco's ongoing Star Wars: Darth Vader comic book series has been focused on a previously unknown battle between Darth Vader and Palpatine that took place before Return of the Jedi.
The series has revealed that Palpatine was working on the Final Order plan on Exegol since the time of the original trilogy, with the final issue in the 'Into the Fire' arc seeing Vader confront his master on Exegol.
After failing to kill Palpatine with some alien creatures, Vader is lured into the temple on Exegol and sees what Palpatine has been up to in his lab, including Snoke clones and experiments on Luke Skywalker's hand (probably).
Ochi of Bestoon is still accompanying Vader after he was forced to go to Exegol by Vader following his failed attempt to kill him. After Vader dispatches a bunch of Sith Eternal cronies, Ochi tells Vader that he senses something on Exegol is "suffering unfathomable pain."
The pair investigate further and come across Palpatine's Final Order fleet, before seeing what's really powering the ships: a kyber crystal mountain.
"The living material that powers every lightsaber. But a saber uses just the tiniest shard. To power the cannons of my fleet, I have harvested a mountain," boasts Palpatine, although that doesn't explain to Ochi why it's screaming.
Turns out that in order to have the kyber crystal do Palpatine's nefarious bidding, he's having his Sith Eternal followers torment the material. "Kyber is a living thing and to serve a Sith, the Kyber must suffer," notes Vader.
We're not entirely sure on the specifics of this torment since this scene is set three decades before The Rise of Skywalker. Did Palpatine have to continuously torment the kyber in those intervening decades, or was it a one-and-done torture deal?
As ever with Star Wars, one question's answer just leads to more questions. For now, we'll just make do with knowing exactly how the Final Order fleet got their deadly juice.
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