So far, much of what we've seen from J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII suggests it could very well be some kind of nostalgic, reunion package for Star Wars fans.
We know Luke, Leia and Han are returning, as is C3PO, R2D2 and Chewie, while more recently, Abrams has also been teasing images of the Millennium Falcon. We also know Tattooine is confirmed as a major location for the renewed series, but now it looks like it might also be joined by its planetary paradox, the ice planet Hoth.
This rumor comes to us from none other than former (and let's face it, the best) James Bond, Roger Moore. Apparently, he was recently on the [Star Wars: Episode VII](movie:711158) set, where he utilized his secret agent skills to infiltrate the production and escape with some very sensitive information. He told the BBC (via Star Wars 7 News):
Roger Moore: Anyway, the day before last, I know we stopped by the office, and I went up to see – on a very closed, secret set – my friend J. J. Abrams, who is directing Star Wars.
BBC: Ooh, wow!
Moore: With Harrison Ford.
BBC: So, what were they filming that day? Can you tell me?
Moore: Well, yes! They were filming something with a lot of mountains and snow.
Of course, this doesn't confirm the set is representing Hoth, however I think it's relatively likely this is the case. Hoth is one of the most iconic locations in the Star Wars universe, and although ice and snow isn't exactly unique to the planet, it would be strange if Abrams introduced another icy, snowy and mountainous location when he has such a popular one already at hand. Don't you think?
With this in mind, let's engage in some idle speculation about how Hoth could be used in Star Wars: Episode VII.
Luke's Jedi Refuge?
Now, it is not entirely clear how the struggle between the Alliance and the Empire will be represented in the Episode VII - IX trilogy, especially if the extended universe will not be strictly followed. Indeed, although we saw the Empire's garrison on Endor vanquished by the Ewok-Rebel coalition and Palpatine's 'apparent' death, that doesn't mean the entire intergalactic infrastructure of the Empire has crumbled.
So, theoretically, although the Jedis may have 'returned' at the end of Episode VI, it doesn't mean they're still not being hunted by Sith. Therefore, Luke could be using the ice planet - which was a scene of much personal hurt and shame for him - as his Jedi refuge. Just as Yoda chose to hide on Dagobah.
A Rebel Counter-Attack?
However, the above theory also depends on one important element - that Hoth has also been liberated from the Imperial forces. During the Empire Strikes Back, we saw the stormtroopers eventually take Echo Base and theoretically wipe out the Rebel resistance on the planet.
With the Battle of Hoth taking up a significant amount of Imperial resources - and the personal intervention of Vader himself - it's unlikely the Empire would have abandoned the planet so the Rebels could just move back in again. So, I think it's not outside the realms of possibilities to assume a garrison, if only a small one, could have been left there.
Could Episode VII feature an attempt by the newly invigorated Rebels (and perhaps the children of Luke, Han and Leia) to retake Hoth? That's something, I'd certainly like to see.
A Simple Flash-Back?
Perhaps the dullest possible reason for returning to Hoth could be that it is the location of a simple flash-back. Worst of all, it could only be used as an expository prologue to remind viewers of what's happened previously in the series. The apparent return of Palpatine could also play into this theory.
However, I think this in unlikely for several reasons. Firstly, as far as I'm aware, flash-backs have never been used in the Star Wars cinematic universe, with force ghosts often fulfilling their narrative purpose. Secondly, the famous and iconic scrolling text is also traditionally used in lieu of an explanatory recap. While thirdly, the characters who were originally present on Hoth have now aged so much as to make a flash-back difficult to film without significant special effects.
Having said that, so far we only know there is a 'set' for an icy location, which suggests its role could be relatively minor. In the original trilogy the production headed to Norway to film the Hoth scenes. As far as we know the production of Star Wars: Episode VII has not followed suit - although Iceland is listed as a location.
What role do you think Hoth could potentially be playing in Star Wars: Episode VII?
Which of the above would you most like to see?
Source: Star Wars 7 News