Midi-chlorians were perhaps one of the most contentious additions to the Star Wars mythos introduced in the prequel trilogy. Many fans felt that adding the “scientific” explanation undercut the more spiritual side of the Force from the original Star Wars trilogy. Thankfully for those of you in that camp Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams confirmed that the midi-chlorians will not be mentioned in his film during a recent interview. In fact, Abrams even laughed off a question about his new film maintaining continuity with the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special.
As explained in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, midi-chlorians are microscopic life forms that live inside the cells of every living being. Individuals with high midi-chlorian counts could often manipulate the Force, and Shmi Skywalker’s virgin birth of Anakin Skywalker was attributed to the midi-chlorians in her body.
Many Star Wars fans were extremely unhappy about that revelation—but George Lucas’ other ideas about the midi-chlorians were even more outlandish.
“I’m assuming that the midi-chlorians are a race that everybody knows about [in the world of Star Wars],” said Lucas in a feature on StarWars.com. “The way you interact and interface with this larger energy field [the Force] is through the midi-chlorians, which are sensitive to the energy. They are at the core of your life, which is the cell, the living cell. They are in a symbiotic relationship with the cell. And then, because they’re all interconnected as one, they can communicate with the larger Force field. That’s how you deal with the Force.”
Lucas went on to say that “Midi-chlorians are like a single entity: meaning each one doesn’t think individually and have a life to itself; they think as a unit because there’s so many of them and they’re everywhere. They’re in every single cell. And sometimes there’s more than one in a cell. Sometimes there’s a whole bunch in a cell. But there has to be at least one in a cell, otherwise the cell can’t reproduce. All cells. Plant cells. Every life form has a midi-chlorian living inside of them.”
It would take some kind of Special Edition to fully scrub the midi-chlorians from the Star Wars universe. For now though, take comfort in the fact that no one will mention them onscreen in the near future! Those spin-off movies are likely another story entirely, though.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released on December 18th.
How do you feel about midi-chlorians and the Force? Check your midi-chlorian levels and share your opinions in the comment section below!