Yavin 4

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Yavin 4 (or Yavin IV)
Artist's view of Yavin 4 around Yavin.
First appearanceStar Wars (film)
Created byGeorge Lucas
GenreScience Fiction
In-universe information
TypeNatural Satellite
LocationThis moon orbits the outer rim of the gas giant Yavin.
PopulationHuman Massassi
BattlesBattle of Yavin
Outstanding sitesGrand Temple massassi
AffiliationRebel Alliance

Yavin 4 (or Yavin IV) is a natural satellite in the Star Wars fictional universe. Located in the Outer Rim, this moon orbits the gas giant Yavin.

It appears mainly in the films Rogue One and A New Hope, for which the exterior scenes are mostly shot on the Guatemalan site of Tikal.

Yavin 4 can also be seen in the Rebels TV series, video games and comic books. It is also mentioned in the novelizations of the films in which it appears, and in other novels.


The Star Wars universe is set in a galaxy that is the scene of clashes between the Jedi Knights and the Dark Lords of the Sith, characters who are sensitive to the Force, a mysterious energy field that gives them psychic powers. The Jedi master the Light Side of the Force, a beneficial and defensive power, to maintain peace in the galaxy. The Sith use the Dark Side, a harmful and destructive power, for their own purposes and to dominate the galaxy.[1]


Spatial situation[edit]

The Yavin system is located in the Gordian Expanse sector of the Outer Rim. The star of this system is also called Yavin, as is the third and final planet from the centre. This planet, a gas giant, has 26 natural satellites. The fourth is Yavin 4.[2][3]


The land above Yavin 4 is covered by forest, marshes and jungle. Pyramidal temples built by the Massassis[Note 1] stand within this environment. The largest of these, the Great Temple, became the main base of the Rebel Alliance.[2][3][4]

This natural satellite is covered by oceans over a third of its surface. The remaining two-thirds are shared between four continents. On Yavin 4, there is no continental drift. The tectonic plates do not move in relation to each other. No ocean is isolated from the others. There are mountain ranges and volcanoes on this moon. These volcanoes are at the origin of a dynamic that allows the creation of very fast-flowing rivers.[5]

Ways of life[edit]

The planet has a high level of bio-diversity. Massassis trees, with their purple bark, surrounded by climbing ferns, pomegranate mushrooms and bio-luminescent orchids, are an important part of the local flora... Among the tree-dwelling animals, the most notable are woolamanders, frugivores, and stindaril rodents, carnivores that feed on golden muralbirds in particular. On land, there are runyips, herbivores, and swarms of piranha beetles. The marshes of this satellite are home to lizard crabs pursued by caparisoned eels. The waters are also home to aquatic gundarks, mucous salamanders, crystalline snakes and thyrsls. Finally, underground leviathan worms feed on the roots of massive trees.[3][5]

Official universe[edit]

Before the Battle of Yavin[edit]

During the Galactic Civil War, military leader Jan Dodonna founded a rebel cell on Yavin 4. He called it the Massassi Group, in reference to the intelligent species that inhabited the planet. This rebel group became one of the largest in the Galaxy, taking part in the battles of Scarif and Yavin. [6]

As a result, Yavin 4 is the main base of the Rebel Alliance. Galen Erso's daughter, Jyn, was brought there by the Rebels. The leader of the Alliance, Mon Mothma, explains to her that her father developed the Death Star space combat station and that she is best placed to find her father, Galen, and the plans for this Imperial weapon that the Rebels want to destroy.[7][8][9] Cassian Andor, who is accompanying Jyn Erso, has been given a secret mission: to kill Galen.[10]

When the Rebels had to retrieve the Death Star plans from Scarif, several Rebel leaders, including General Syndulla, were called away from Yavin 4. The Tantive IV, with Princess Leia Organa aboard, leaves Yavin 4 to witness the battle.[9][11][12]

Captured by the Empire, Leia Organa refused to divulge the location of the Rebel base. To gain time, she gave the location of an abandoned site on the planet Dantooine. She then managed to escape aboard the Millennium Falcon with the smuggler Han Solo. The Death Star pursues the ship to the Yavin system. While the Imperial ships are on their way, General Dodonna prepares the defence of the Rebel Alliance.[2][13]

Battle of Yavin[edit]

The Rebels launch several squadrons of fighters in the hope of taking advantage of a weakness in the Death Star's design to destroy it. The torpedo sent by a new recruit to the "Red" squadron, Luke Skywalker, destroyed the space station, giving the Alliance a major victory over the Empire. Shortly after celebrating this victory with a ceremony, the Rebels abandoned Yavin 4, fearing a counter-attack.[2][4][14]

After the Battle of Yavin[edit]

Once the Death Star is destroyed, two Rebels in particular are rewarded for their significant part in the battle. They were Luke Skywalker, who shot the rift that allowed the space station to explode, and Han Solo, who saved it from Imperial Darth Vader during the battle. Leia Organa presented them with a medal at Yavin 4, during a ceremony to celebrate this military victory.[15]

After retiring, pilot Shara Bey and sergeant Kes Dameron,[Note 2] two former rebels, settled on Yavin 4 to live. There they planted a fragment[Note 3] of a Force-sensitive tree given to them by Luke Skywalker.[16][17]

Legends Universe[edit]

Following the takeover of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company, all elements narrated in derivative products dating prior to 26 April 2014 were declared to be outside of canon and were then grouped together as "Star Wars Legends".[18]

Sith Wars[edit]

Around 5000 BC, the Massassis[Note 1] species were living on Yavin 4 when the Sith Lord Naga Sadow fled Korriban after losing the Great Hyperspace War.[19]

Naga Sadow left his mark on Yavin 4 with his temples. The Massassis built the Great Temple in homage to Naga Sadow, despite the persecution he suffered 20.[20] Faced with his defeat at the hands of the Jedi, Naga Sadow partially resisted death by plunging into a century-long sleep on Yavin 4. Finally, a certain Freedon Nadd came in 4,400 BC, found the temple and became Naga Sadow's apprentice.[21][5]

Exar Kun later arrived at Yavin 4. There, he kills Naga Sadow once and for all, then enslaves the Massassis, having them build enormous temples, focal points of great power. He gradually gained strength by absorbing the energy of Massassi children in particular. At the same time, he carried out genetic experiments to create fighting animals. Unable to repel the Jedi's victory over him, he found a way to survive for several millennia by transferring his spirit to a temple in the natural satellite.[2][5][22]

Fall and rebirth of the Republic[edit]

Much later, during the Clone Wars, the Jedi Anakin Skywalker confronts the separatist Asajj Ventress. Their duel takes place in the Great Massassian Temple. During the battle, Anakin seems to move particularly close to the Dark Side, in the run-up to his total overthrow in the final moments of the Clone Wars.[4][23][24][25]

After the rise of the New Republic against the Galactic Empire, Luke Skywalker chose the moon as the place to found the New Jedi Order, and took Mara Jade with him.[2][26] The planet was ravaged by the Yuuzhan Vong during the Vong invasion of the Galaxy. The Jedi Order moved to Ossus.[16]

Concept and creation[edit]

Scenes from A New Hope set on Yavin 4 were filmed near the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, in Guatemala. Two years after filming, the site was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[27] [28][29] [30] The idea of using these ruins as a film location came to George Lucas when, in England, he noticed the pre-Columbian site on a travel agency poster.[16]

Yavin 4 and the Rebel base appeared again in Rogue One, the first film in the Star Wars Story spin-off series. Jyn Erso is captured by the Rebel Alliance 31.[31] The appearance of Yavin 4 is one of the elements that link this episode to the first Star Wars.[32] In this film, the introductory scene is similar to that of the first scene on Yavin 4, in A New Hope. A Rebel soldier standing sentry watches a fighter in the sky.[33]

Scenes from Rogue One taking place on Yavin 4 were shot on a set approximately 107 metres (351 ft) long and 61 metres (200 ft) wide, rather than in a live environment.[34] Others combine matte painting and live-action shooting. They were made at a Royal Air Force base in Bedfordshire, England.[35]

Actor Oscar Isaac, who plays Poe Dameron in the third trilogy, was born in Guatemala, where Yavin 4 was filmed. He asked that the character he plays be from Yavin 4 so that he would feel closer to him. The satellite was therefore chosen as the birthplace of Poe Dameron in the Star Wars universe. This information was revealed even before the release of the film The Force Awakens, in which Poe appears for the first time.[16][36]


Video games[edit]

Yavin 4 appears in Star Wars: The Old Republic, released in 2011. The planet is home to Sith spirits such as Naga Sadow.[37]

In 2017, Star Wars: Battlefront II has 11 different playgrounds, including Yavin 4. It is the only one to appear in Rogue One and the only one, along with Mos Eisley, to come from A New Hope.[38]

Yavin 4 also features in the 2020 Star Wars: Squadrons game. It is one of the locations in which the player can take part in a battle aboard a fighter.[39]


In 2012, Lego produced spherical figurines of a number of Star Wars planets, separable into two hemispheres. Although Yavin 4 is not a planet but a satellite, it is also part of the collection under number 9677 "X-wing Starfighter & Yavin 4 ". It is sold with an X-Wing and its pilot.[40]

In addition, figurines of the characters in their Yavin appearance were put on sale. From 1 November 2021, Funko marketed the Pop figure under number 459 "Princess Leia (Yavin Ceremony)" Note 5. It depicts Leia Organa holding a medal, which in the film she gives to Luke Skywalker or Han Solo.[41][42] A few months later, in the spring of 2022, Hasbro released a similar figure in its Black Series for Lucasfilm's 50th anniversary under the name "Princess Leia Organa (Yavin 4)". This is Leia in ceremonial dress with the film's medal.[43][44] [45]


Yavin 4 regularly appears in the Star Wars saga star charts. The Vulture website puts it in tenth place. It explains that this natural satellite has two main qualities: its history linked to the Sith and its appearance due to the temples used as starship hangars by the rebels.[46] The Comic Book Resources website ranked Yavin 4 fourth, behind Naboo, Bespin and the forest moon of Endor. It emphasises its perfect topography but points out that it lacks natural mineral resources.[47]

In its ranking of the best locations in A New Hope, the Screen Rant website puts Yavin 4 in tenth place, ahead of five locations on Tatooine, two on the Death Star and two starships. Among the qualities of the natural satellite, the site mainly mentions the medal ceremony room and the outward appearance of the Rebel base. However, it points out that the film does not dwell much on this important location.[48]

The duel between Asajj Ventress and Anakin Skywalker on Yavin 4 in particular is one of the most popular moments in the Clone Wars animated series, mainly for the visual effect.[23][24][25]


Literary analysis[edit]

The choice of Yavin 4, a jungle world, as the base for the rebels, the heroes of A New Hope, can be explained by the fact that the worlds in the saga that are home to the characters from the side of good are wild, natural and verdant, such as the saga's other notable satellite, the forest moon of Endor, and the planets Naboo and Kashyyyk. The characters in the evil camp live in an artificial base, the Death Star, as opposed to the verdant Yavin 4. The lush jungle of this planet contrasts with the artificial, black and white habitat of evil 49.[49]

Scientific analysis[edit]

Like several other Star Wars stars, Yavin 4 has been studied using a scientific approach to determine whether the concept seems realistic enough. First of all, the gas giant of the natural satellite in question would have to be well placed in its system, within the system's habitability zone. The diversity of ecosystems on Yavin 4 also seems more likely than a natural satellite covered entirely in forest like the forest moon of Endor, if only because the polar regions are colder than the tropical regions.[50]


The planet D'Qar in the third trilogy of the saga is sometimes seen as a replay of Yavin 4: these planets are covered in jungle and uninhabited due to their isolation from hyperspace routes. In addition, the Resistance, heir to the Rebel Alliance, set up its command base there.[46]

A scene set on Yavin 4 in particular continues to leave its mark on fans of the saga and the specialist press several decades after its presence in A New Hope: The Last, with the medal ceremony. Indeed, of the three heroes of the battle present at the time, only two were awarded medals, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Fans are looking for several explanations as to why Chewbacca doesn't get a medal. Firstly, some fans believe that this means that the Rebel Alliance considers humans, including Han and Luke, to be superior to other species. Some fans speculate that since Chewbacca has been secretly working for the Rebels since Revenge of the Sith, there is no need to give him a medal. Others, from outside the saga universe, think that the film crew simply forgot.[51][52][53][54]

However, George Lucas claims that for the Wookiees, Chewbacca's species, a medal is not of symbolic importance and that Chewbacca has already been honoured by a Wookiee ceremony, after the Battle of Yavin.[51][52][54]

Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca's actor, offers a more pragmatic explanation. According to him, the production of A New Hope lacked the money to make this first film and had to make savings on certain elements. For example, buying a third medal for the shoot would have been too expensive.[53][54]

Finally, Chewbacca receives a medal, in the episode The Rise of Skywalker, from the hands of Maz Kanata. This scene seems to provide a conclusion to the Yavin 4 ceremony scene. The scene's symbolism can also be explained by the fact that, in Skywalker Ascending, after the deaths of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, Chewbacca is the only survivor among the heroes of the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope. It may also be a way for J. J. Abrams to satisfy the fans who have been complaining about this lack of recognition for over 40 years .[55][56][57]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Massassi is an intelligent species that lives on Yavin 4.
  2. ^ Parents of Poe Dameron.
  3. ^ This type of fictitious tree simply grows back from a piece salvaged from another tree of the same species.




Print material
  • Beecroft, Simon (2012). "Star wars": les héros de la saga. Paris: Nathan. ISBN 978-2-09-253865-4.
  • Lucasfilm Magazine (1999). hors-série N° 01 : Star Wars Episode I : Le guide officiel du film La Menace fantôme. Paris, Courleciel.
  • Wallace, Daniel; Fry, Jason; Fullwood, Ian (2009). Star wars: the essential atlas. New York: Del Rey/Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-47764-4.
  • Wallace, Daniel; Fry, Jason (2016). Star Wars: L'Atlas. Huginn & Muninn.
  • Webster, David L. (2002). The fall of the ancient Maya: solving the mystery of the Maya collapse. London ; New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-05113-9. OCLC 48753878.
  • Windham, Ryder; Wallace, Daniel (2015). Ultimate "Star wars". Vanves: Hachette heroes. ISBN 978-2-01-220631-1.
  • Windham, Ryder; Wallace, Dan (2012). Star wars: l'encyclopédie absolue (Nouvelle éd. enrichie ed.). Paris: Nathan. ISBN 978-2-09-254065-7.
Web content

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