The Star Wars movies are full of iconic characters and dramatic moments that audiences have known and loved for generations. Creator George Lucas’s brilliant universe has something for just about everyone to enjoy, and it’s all in no small way thanks to the power of the Force. As Obi-Wan Kenobi tells a young Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: A New Hope, “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.”
Without the Force, there would be no lightsabers, no gravity-defying chokeholds, no light side and dark side, indeed, no Star Wars at all. The Force is so sacred to the fans of the series that it takes on a near-religious fervor.
Lucas created a near-perfect concept that resonated in the hearts and minds of audiences, but he had to take it one step further.
Star Wars audiences felt a disturbance in the Force
With the original three Star Wars movies reaching unexpected heights of success, Lucas tried to once again create movie magic with the release of the first of the new trilogy, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, in 1999.
The film was not received as well as hoped, garnering harsh criticism over several aspects of the film, and the ire has only grown as it ages. Among the most hated new additions, aside from the bumbling outcast Jar Jar Binks, was the introduction of some key information about the functioning of the Force that fans say ruin its mystery and beauty.
In a scene much like where Luke and audiences originally learn about the Force, we see a young Anakin Skywalker getting a lesson of his own. “Midi-chlorians are a microscopic lifeform that resides within all living cells and communicates with the Force,” Qui-Gon Jinn tells Anakin. “Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force.”
So, it’s not just the Force that binds the galaxy together, but a bunch of little microscopic creatures? This had fans furious, with many saying it turns what was once mysterious and magical into a basic biological fact of life, an unsatisfying shift in the canon.
The midi-chlorians: Fans hate them, Lucas loves them
Though the directing and writing of the new Star Wars films are out of the hands of George Lucas and into those of J.J. Abrams, the two talk, and what they talked about recently has gotten fans worried.
In an interview with Total Film, Abrams reportedly shared of Lucas, “He had a lot of things to say about the nature of the Force, the themes that he was dealing with when he was writing the movies… Yes, there were some conversations about midi-chlorians – he loves his midi-chlorians.”
Indeed he does, with the opinion from Lucas, as well as the Star Wars official website, being consistently in defense of the midi-chlorians, saying that they don’t change the original point and purpose of the Force, but add broader context.
Will there be midi-chlorians in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’?
Despite Lucas’ love of the little creatures, one can only hope that if they haven’t shown up thus far in the new line of movies, the franchise wouldn’t start now with their latest release, The Rise of Skywalker.
Disney is on a roll, after all, with a string of successful and well-received films and spin-offs. Why risk it with one of the most hated creations in all of Star Wars history? Then again, you never know what could happen in a galaxy far, far away.
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