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In the Star Wars Rebels episode Twilight of the Apprentice, a massive temple built by the ancient Sith was discovered on the planet Malachor. The temple held a colossal Kyber crystal and was in fact a Sith superweapon capable of destroying life with an enormous beam, apparently similar to the Death Star's primary weapon.

Presence: The power to destroy life is at your command.

Why didn't Sidious deploy this superweapon, but wasted years on constructing the Death Star? The Darth Maul comics series reveal that he was well aware of the temple. Darth Vader was also committed in furnishing the superweapon to his master.

Darth Vader: The power within will soon serve the Emperor.

So why didn't they?

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    Considering the Empire used Kyber crystals to focus the super-laser on the Death Star, they did use the technology behind the Sith weapon on Malachor, even if the complex itself was no longer in working condition - a distinct possibility after the episode you mention. – BMWurm May 7 '17 at 7:54
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    Wasn't the place destroyed near the end of the episode? – Bob May 7 '17 at 23:37
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    Starkiller base hadn't been invented yet; they had no way of moving a planet from system to system. So it's likely that temple had limited use and range. It's possible that it only covered the planet it was on, too. Remember, most planets can house billions and billions of inhabitants. – TylerH May 8 '17 at 15:58
  • @TylerH I thought that myself, too. Maybe transporting a natural planet through hyperspace was only invented after the fall of the Empire. Who knows. Bob, I doubt the temple was destroyed, because both Ahsoka and Vader were still inside. – Essen May 8 '17 at 17:59
  • @Essen It definitely was only invented after the destruction of the second Death Star; even ~30 years later during the events of The Force Awakens, there is huge surprise to learn of Starkiller Base and its capabilities. – TylerH May 8 '17 at 18:09
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    In universe: Looks like Sith temple-superweapon could destroy life only on planet it was constructed. This exactly happened first time it was activated during Great Scourge of Malachor. Every Sith, Jedi and most likely every living being was killed, but only on Malachor. Planet was left lifeless, but was that original design (similar to Thought bomb and Ritual of Nathema in Legends), or was it some kind of flaw is unclear. Anyway, as such, it was unsuited as a weapon of choice for Tarkin Doctrine and rule by fear, which required ability to destroy any planet in Galaxy.

    Also, of course, temple itself was destroyed at the end of relevant episode, and I doubt there were blueprints for it. Therefore, it become lost technology.

    Out of universe: Looks like whole idea of Sith temple was quickly cobbled up together for the finale of Rebels season 2. They needed to re-introduce Maul, and get rid of Ahsoka and Inquisitors, so they created one-time plot device of Sith temple on Malachor. Malachor is of course known from Legends, but Sith temple on it was not. Therefore it was disposable story-wise : powerful weapon to attract attention, but it could be destroyed to preserve continuity. Of course, such sloppy work sometimes leaves lose ends, like the question why Palpatine didn't examine temple much earlier, if he (like Kanan) heard stories about Great Scourge) .

  • +1 I like the way you found the parallels between Great Scourge of Malachor and the Battle of Ruusan in Legends. – Essen May 9 '17 at 19:08
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The temple was no longer functional as a weapon once Ezra removed the holochron powering it.

enter image description here

Remember, Vader clearly wasn't expecting Ezra and Kanan to sneak inside and grab it while he fought Ahsoka, and indeed, later on he attempted to recover it from Ezra's hand but was ultimately unsuccessful.

Now back to the temple itself, what Ezra did is basically equivalent to pulling the plug on a running PC—yes, it turns the thing off but often results in unintended side effects. In this case, removing the holochron disrupted the flow of energy within the temple, initiating the collapse. This disruption likely also damaged the main kyber crystal, which could have been the cause of the large explosion seen as the Phantom is flying away:

enter image description here

This is consistent with other kyber-related explosions we've seen in other places. In particular, the more recent episode Holochrons of Fate (season 3, episode 2) shows us another example, when

Maul and Ezra combine the Jedi and Sith holochrons, ultimately resulting in an explosion that "destroys" both of them.

Ezra is literally feet away when this happens, but neither he nor his companion are physically injured, nor is there any damage to the room. Given this, it's not at all surprising that Ahsoka and Vader survived the blast—the explosion is likely more representative of the breakdown of whatever Force-based metabehaviors are embedded in those objects. Consider the fact that:

The pieces of the destroyed holochrons are still there and intact, but they no longer "stick" together:

enter image description here

So in conclusion, yes, the temple was still there, but it was no longer in actual working condition.

  • I like your answer. The only thing it leaves open is why the Emperor did not deploy the weapon before Ezra and Maul entered the temple. This occurred sometime 5 BBY, as the Death Star project was delayed all the way from 19 BBY. We know for sure Sidious was aware of the site already during the time Maul was his apprentice. Maybe there's no in-universe explanation to this. – Essen May 24 '17 at 16:05
  • @Essen Remember the place never fired up until the holochron was retrieved and inserted. Maul already knew where it was kept, but Sidious might not have. It kind of reminds me of the Orb from the first "Guardians of the Galaxy"—security through obscurity. – Bob May 25 '17 at 0:29

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