SPOILERS from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Read at your own caution. Do not share this with people on Twitter and other social media that do not wish to know these details!
With people in the filmmaking industry telling me they have seen Yavin in the new film, concept art depicting Yavin with X-wings inside ancient temples, and a few hints from the products forthcoming, it does in fact appear that the “green planet” is Yavin. I’ve seen a matte of what appears to be a temple and I was told it was to be seen in the distance from the Greenham Common set (where the new X-wings were parked and drones famously filmed the base with pilots and crew running to their ships).
Different sources from different parts of the industries related to Star Wars: The Force Awakens are all saying this planet appears to be Yavin or the one from Star Wars: A New Hope. I was initially hesitant because generally if people see trees, they think Endor and sand must be Tatooine. But such a large amount of people are saying this and there is concept art depicting Yavin that I think it is time to assume it is Yavin and not another jungle planet. The most recent teaser was going to give us a good look at the planet with BB-8 in the back of Poe’s X-wing but the edit that our sources saw wasn’t final.
The “green planet” or Yavin IV is where Maz Kanata’s pirates seem to be and apparently where Princess Leia’s Resistance Base is stationed. This is why, when the emissary is killed, Leia is able to appear at the location rather quickly. I don’t know if Maz and her pirates and the Resistance have an agreement to coexist on the world or if they just keep to themselves. It does seem interesting that the Resistance is stationed in ancient temples and the pirates are in a huge castle. Perhaps Yavin has a richer history than we once thought?
The pirate castle (not to be confused with the Evil Castle/First Order Castle) from the film is very much like one you would see in Lucasfilm’s Willow. The castle has ramparts as you would expect a castle to have. It is very much a European castle with alcoves sporting slight technological constructions. There are large tapestries and even stained glass windows which you can get a taste for in the Vanity Fair photo along with a few alcoves:
I believe in the production process, this castle was initially designed to be the cyborg’s castle. That cyborg became Kylo Ren. There were a lot of production paintings of various cyborgs (with some even looking like Luke Skywalker) clutching “Kira” or Rey as Finn, Maz, and BB-8 show up to rescue her. There doesn’t appear to be a sequence like this in the film now unless it happens when they’re planting charges on the castle and that doesn’t appear to be possible. My theory (which seems plausible) was that the design for the castle was then transplanted to become Maz’s pirate stronghold. The majority of the concept art depicted Maz in a pub or a market/eatery setting. I believe functionally that is still the case, it just happens to be in castle instead of beside it. There are other indications we can’t discuss just yet that the castle is all that is left of the “exotic city” that once stood there as well.
Vanity Fair states:
Galactic travelers, smugglers, and other assorted riff-raff fill the main hall of pirate Maz Kanata’s castle.
Which to me says these are not all pirates and some of the “exotic city” ideas are still at play here.
Remember that map room? The one where R2-D2, BB-8, and C-3PO decode something, probably from the lightsaber, which in turn allows Rey to find Luke Skywalker at the end of the film? That was seen here in this Jedi News leak which was straightened out by our friend IG-88MPH:
This September you’re going to be able to own a First Order Fortress, Maz’s Castle, and a lot of jungle products from this film in various forms. The same goes for the snow planet, which is the bad guy’s merchandise. We’re going to have the green organic castle versus the evil snow castle, in essence. If this stuff sounds exciting to you, yes there will be a “Poly Pockets” style play set and the bigger boys like Hasbro are following suit.
The main locations of Star Wars: The Force Awakens are the desert planet of Jakku, The Giant Freighter, The Green World (most likely Yavin), and the snow planet (which we aren’t far from having some confirmation on).