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I watched the film 'The Rise of Skywalker' in cinema. Our heroes spent most the film searching for a super secret planet. It turns out the only way to reach the planet is with the help of a extremely rare special navigation device.

When they arrive, the planet itself is uninhabited except for one lonely man. However in orbit is a huge fleet (the biggest ever seen?) of hundreds/thousands of new star destroyers, all with new super powerful weapons and crewed for combat. This is a surprise to the goodies.

How did the baddies build so many ships in secret and in isolation to the galactic economy? Did they import the raw materials? Where did the crews come from?

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    The dark side of the force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be... unnatural – tilley31 Dec 27 '19 at 16:55
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    They have droids on hand for labor (and potentially droids that can build droids) so the real bottlecap would be raw resources. It's probably a good guess on your part that they were importing resources. As for crewing, they might also be pretty heavily automated (basically droids again) or clones which would cut down on the number of people you'd need to import. – just_happen_to_know Dec 27 '19 at 17:15
  • The First Order officers mention needing to increase their numbers to crew the ships. – Stone True Dec 27 '19 at 17:33
  • Shamus Young has an excellent break down of this exact problem, though he's discussing it in terms of the Cerberus organization from Mass Effect 2. I'll throw in a pitch for the whole ME retrospective he did because it's great, but the specific entry is here: shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=30943 – Alarion Dec 27 '19 at 18:17
  • This is pure speculation, but we know Palpatine was mapping the Unknown Regions. It's possible that he gathered the resources from those hidden planets and possibly even set up shipyards. – Gremer Dec 27 '19 at 22:40
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Although the surface is largely barren and lifeless, the world of Exegol has large underground populations of Sith loyalists, droids and slave labour, captured from worlds inside the Unknown Regions.

Secreted in underground launch bays beneath the surface of Exegol is the final stage of the First Order's long-gestating plan of conquest. The loyalists who have been toiling in secret to bring the return of their glorious Empire and to resurrect the Sith Order include engineers, shipwrights, and enslaved labor. Their efforts have created hundreds of warships and thousands of starfighters ready to launch. While the Sith monolith is the site of macabre rituals that plumb the secrets of the Force, the neighboring staging grounds represent pure military might, grounded in the Imperial legacy of rule through technological supremacy.

Rise of Skywalker: Visual Dictionary

Additionally, specialist parts and plans were stolen out from under the nose of the New Republic. It seems that both the Kuat Shipyards and Sienar Fleet Systems were covertly passing 'supplies and designs' to the Sith.

The presence of Sith loyalists within the executive boards of Sienar-Jaemus and Kuat-Entralla allowed the clandestine tunneling of supplies and designs to Exegol through various intermediaries.

The First Order dreadnought was a test project that informed the Xyston-Class Star Destroyer design.

Rise of Skywalker: Visual Dictionary

With an essentially unlimited population of free labour culled from thousands of worlds, vast quantities of stolen parts and noting that Palpatine hid vast manufacturing capacity inside the Unknown Regions (some of which was put to work building the First Order fleet) building a large fleet of ships shouldn't be too hard if you're happy to work your slaves to death.

As to why we can't see any building works on the surface, much like the droid factories of Geonosis, with automation and the willingness to strip a planet of all of its usable ore, it's possible to build a gigantic fleet without much surface detail.

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    This is right. Planets are huge, and we see less than 0.01% of each one on screen. Imagine making a judgment on Earth's capacities after a single encounter at a lonely castle in the Scottish Highlands or a fishing village in the South Pacific. That's effectively what we see on Exegol - some religio-political edifice that might not be nearby to the regular residential, industrial, etc. districts where they train troopers or build starships. – Robert Columbia Dec 29 '19 at 20:12
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    If one planet can produce a gigantic fleet of planet-destroying ships, how come the whole Empire or First Order could only come up with a single superweapon every quite a few years? – Malcolm Dec 31 '19 at 13:04
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    @Malcolm - It has been noted (repeatedly) that Tarkin and the Emperor were bonkers to concentrate on building a Death Star instead of, for the same effort, thousands of Star Destroyers. This seems to be his answer to that criticism. Why not both? – Valorum Dec 31 '19 at 14:01
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    @Malcolm I think you're not accounting for the long amount of time taken to construct those superweapons. The first Death Star took ~20 years to complete. All of those superweapons likely were already in the pipeline, and lessons learned from the manufacture of earlier superweapons could improve the manufacturing time or quantity of the later superweapons. Alternatively, the Empire and First Order could complete building single superweapons only every few years because all other resources were secretly being diverted to build a fleet of Star Destroyers on Exegol. – jamesdlin Jan 1 at 8:52
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    @jamesdlin That's right, it took 20 years to create the tech with the resources of the whole empire. And they managed to build a single death star the size of a moon. Now with much smaller resources they managed not only to miniaturize the tech to just a ship, but also to build hundreds of them. That's an improvement of orders of magnitude. The second point is unlikely, they wouldn't start building the second death star if they knew how to make such ships in these quantities by then. – Malcolm Jan 1 at 19:11

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