Palpatine’s Rise Of Skywalker Plan Was Secretly Genius

Palpatine’s Exegol plan in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was secretly genius when looking at it within the context of Star Wars’ biggest conflicts. The Rise of Skywalker brought Palpatine back from the dead to great controversy, with the over reliance on nostalgia and contrived mechanics behind his resurrection often cited as two of the film’s biggest flaws. And yet, despite Exegol being a planet previously unheard of in Star Wars lore (adding fuel to the fire), Palpatine’s reasoning for launching his attack from there fits in with the cyclical nature of the galaxy’s major battles.


While Star Wars’ main conflicts can easily be classified as the fight between light and dark, there’s another pattern to be found within the galaxy’s 5,000-year history. It was never just about the Jedi vs. the Sith, the Jedi vs. the Nihil, the Separatists vs. the Republic, the Rebellion vs. the Empire, or the Resistance vs. the First Order – it was also about the Core Worlds vs. the Outer Rim. In each conflict, one side controls the Core Worlds, its resources, and its stability, while the other uses the lawlessness of the Outer Rim to build up its armada and strike from there. Palpatine’s Exegol plan follows the same pattern and stretches it to its logical conclusion.

Related: Star Wars Used The Same Pattern 6 Times Across 5,000 Years, From The Sith To The Republic

Palpatine’s Rise Of Skywalker Plan Was Smarter Than You Realized

Sith Eternal Fleet Exegol

Exegol is a world situated beyond the borders of the Outer Rim, in the Unknown Regions. The Unknown Regions are so named because its very nature makes it hard for space exploration to take place without the power of the Force. This not only gives Star Wars a logical excuse for the planet to have never been heard of before The Rise of Skywalker, but also makes Palpatine’s plan that much more likely to succeed. The Outer Rim has historically been used as a place to remain hidden while building up power and amassing forces. Doing the same in the Unknown Regions would make it even more likely that Palpatine’s plans could be enacted; there would have been absolutely no oversight.

As a result, had Palpatine’s plan worked, he could have launched a galaxy-altering threat before anyone could stop him. Prior to General Hux’s turn, there was no way to track the Sith Eternal’s fleet, no way to know when he would launch his forces or where he would send them first. Palpatine could have ordered a Blitzkrieg, essentially, surprising and overwhelming the enemy in one fell swoop, especially considering the sheer number of Star Destroyers Palpatine had managed to produce. Using Exegol as a base of operations, while seeming contrived on the surface, actually slots in perfectly with Star Wars’ previous history and works as a rational extension of all other historical conflicts.

Why Palpatine’s Rise Of Skywalker Plan (Still) Failed

Emperor Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker.

Despite Exegol’s strategic benefits, Palpatine’s plan still failed. Though Darth Sidious was usually ten steps ahead of everyone else, one of his biggest weaknesses was his inability to comprehend the power of human emotion. He can recognize it and twist it to his benefit, certainly, but he tends to underestimate how emotion can affect a person’s rationality and very nature. When Kylo Ren took over as Supreme Leader, Hux’s jealousy and disdain won over and led him to leak the secrets of Exegol to the Resistance. Additionally, Palpatine once again underestimated the power of hope and the light side of the Force. Even when the Resistance discovered Exegol, he and his commanding officers still believed they were unstoppable, until thousands of civilian ships came to fight back against their tyranny.

And, since several tie-in stories have implied that the Fleet’s construction began just before the reign of the Empire ended, it can be concluded that their designs were well-known to the Resistance, and thus their weaknesses were easy to exploit. Once the Resistance found the Sith Eternal Fleet, it became simple enough to destroy the entire armada as long as the navigational signal was taken out of commission. Palpatine may have had the foresight to build his fleet long before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ever took place, but that doesn’t mean his plan was infallible.

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