Before we begin, let me just say that the following reveals very little plot detail—certainly much less than what you’ll see in the Episode VII trailer. However, it gives (unverified) details on some of the environments we’ll see and one (maybe insignificant) plot point.
A poster at the IMDb message boards, which is not often known for its sensible and thought-provoking discussion, has revealed details of four sets constructed at Pinewood Studios, and the posts pre-date information later leaked elsewhere.
Are you ready for the details?
First-up is the outdoor Tatooine set “about the size of a football pitch” and featuring dwellings and familiar-looking buildings. This is clearly the set some of us have seen in the recently leaked photo (which was quickly removed at the request of Lucasfilm). Notably, the set features a “rocket-like” structure and is one of the few sets to use green screen, and even then only against one wall (presumably to extend it beyond the backlot).
Next is an ice planet (presumably Hoth) which features a crashed ship. Is this the same setting where Chewbacca takes on “old skool” stormtroopers?
Then we have a tree-dwelling of some kind which does not appear to be either Endor or Kashyyyk.
Finally, there’s a black and chrome Imperial-style set. It’s massive, standing at roughly three storeys high with platforms, gantries and so forth, but it uses low-key lighting (as opposed to the traditional vertical strip lighting seen in the original trilogy). Furthermore, it’s pristine, suggesting it is in regular use and not an abandoned relic of the Galactic Civil War. It appears to be a base, though it could be the hangar of a very large ship.
You can see the various posts which feature there source in these three threads. (A fourth has been deleted.) As Jason at Making Star Wars notes, Michael Arndt’s draft for the screenplay supposedly featured Hoth, and if that rumour is true and this rumour is true, the story for Episode VII was not thrown out (as some would have you believe). In addition, while it’s all a bit hazy, certain details line up with what’s being whispered here and there.
One thing seems clear: if you grew up on the original trilogy, the look and feel of that universe is back.