The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary is here to fill in some big story gaps. Star Wars fans were left wondering how Emperor Palpatine returned and how he assembled that massive fleet of Star Destroyers on Exegol. For moviegoing audiences, the return was not explained since there simply was not enough time in the movie to offer up every little detail. With that being said, the return of Palpatine isn't exactly a small plot point.
According to The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary, we now know exactly how Emperor Palpatine came back to terrorize the galaxy once more. In the movie, we see that Palpatine had some help from mysterious hooded followers. The book reveals that they are known as the Sith Eternal. Their devotion is what brought them to Exegol in order to revive Palpatine. They were able to bring him back through the use of "technology and the occult," which was hinted at on the big screen. They spent decades working to bring him back, while also crafting the Final Order's massive fleet of Star Destroyers.
The Sith Eternal didn't use the Star Destroyers from the past. Instead, they were able to craft brand-new ones, equipped with planet-killing lasers. The new ships are called the Xyston-class Star Destroyer and they were manufactured by shipwrights, engineers, and slaves under the rule of the Sith Eternal on Exegol. But how did they get the parts to do this? As it turns out, the Sith Eternal are made up of some prominent members who served on the boards of Sienar-Jaemus and Kuat-Entralla shipyards.
Through the power of the Sith Eternal, they were able to have parts smuggled to Exegol secretly in order to construct the fleet. The Rise of Skywalker didn't go into any of this, but it did show the crews of these new Star Destroyers and they all looked rather young. As it turns out, these crews are made up of children from the Sith Eternal. These children were trained at birth to devote their lives to the Final Order. These are also the people under the Sith Trooper armor, who were briefly shown in the movie.
Thanks to The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary, which was written by Lucasfilm Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo, we now have a better idea of how Emperor Palpatine came back and why he had such a large army. Now that this information is officially out there, we will more than likely see the Sith Eternal explored in further Star Wars novels and comic books. There is over 30 years-worth of time to go through and explore as they revived Palpatine and assembled the Final Order fleet. Plus, there's all of the stories about Snoke, who was actually Palpatine, that can be explored now too. You can head over to Penguin Random House to get your hands on your own Visual Dictionary.