The big moment is when the Good Guys find the Bad Guys' planetary base. Then the excitement runs hot as they determine the Star Destroyer fleet will be unable to raise shields due to being parked in the atmosphere and are therefore as vulnerable as they would ever be. To the fighters!

Did I miss some explanation as to why the Bad Guys chose this Sitting Duck Strategy? A few kilometers more altitude would put them in vacuum and englobing the planet in a full-strength defensive orbit.

It couldn't be for the purpose of hiding the fleet, since the entire planet was lost and unknown to the point the whole movie involved finding the secret map/route to the place.

(as a secondary question/observation: When the "Peoples' Fleet" arrived, the fighter-sized craft could rely on speed over shields to survive. However, the capital-sized ships should likewise be unable to raise their shields in atmosphere. The carnage would have been brutal.)

  • It was being built under the cloak of the actual planet, in secret. Meaning that it had to be built on-world and not in orbit. As such, it had the minor weakness of being completely unshielded until launch into orbit.
    – Möoz
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 3:22
  • "Being built"? I saw no scenes with sweaty work droids putting drop cloths over bridge terminals while they installed the wainscotting. I think the Emperor learned his lesson in "RotJ" and didn't rely on a half-built war machine. My impression was that fleet was ready to go when the Word was Given. And "secrecy" doesn't apply at all. Once the Good Guys found the Lost Mythical Planet, they spotted the fleet in a heartbeat, so hovering in atmosphere provided no security. AND, as the movie showed us, a lack of shields was certainly not a "minor weakness".
    – Blaze
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


Considering that there were only

two known Sith Wayfinders, one of which was in Kylo Ren's possession and the other of which was likely considered destroyed or at least very difficult to obtain (since it was secretly hidden within the vault of the destroyed second Death Star),

it's likely the case that the Sith simply assumed no one would ever be able to even journey to their planet, so there was no need to be "careful" with respect to defense of the fleet.

Further, given the sheer size of the fleet, and the fact that the Resistance fleet was effectively tiny in comparison, there may have been an additional assumption that any actual attack would easily be defeated - simply because there were no enemies with enough substance to realistically attack the Destroyers, shields or not.

  • 2
    Not to mention what happened to the attacking fleet during it all.
    – Joe W
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 19:33
  • 3
    "The other of which was likely considered destroyed or at least very difficult to obtain..." I don't think that's true though, considering the dagger needed to find the wayfinder was constructed to match the ruins (when viewed from the exact spot that Rey happened to walk up to; how convenient!) Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 22:45
  • 4
    That answer does not really help understand what the point of putting Star Destroyers in that formation are. From a military point of view, it seems utterly idiotic, no matter whether you expect an attack soon or not. There are lots of other things to consider, too: Like, running a large ship requires lots of practice for the crew. For this and many other reasons, the natural thing would be to fly all those ships to space ASAP and conduct exercises there, to make sure you are battle ready once you need it. So, lots of reasons against that formation. Anybody have any for it?
    – Max Horn
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 13:38

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