Many Star Wars fans hurl themselves about whilst making menacing noises at the very mention of the nefarious Midi-chlorians. After growing up with an understanding of the mythical Force as a spiritual presence that could be harnessed by a special few, George Lucas amended the concept by bringing Midi-chlorians into the mix for the first chapter in his prequel trilogy, The Phantom Menace.
It quickly became one of the cringiest moments of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and the majority of fans rejected it entirely. For those who are morbidly curious about this concept, there are a lot of rather interesting facts about Midi-chlorians that help flesh out their ominous history.
Updated on September 3rd, 2021 by Derek Draven: Several attempts were made to soften the impact of Midi-chlorians on Star Wars canon, particularly as it relates to the awesome power of the Force. That means more lore to draw upon, and more questions that need answering. For fans who want to know more about this highly divisive and ill-received idea, there’s plenty of information to delve into in the ever-growing canon.
15 When Were Midi-Chlorians First Discovered?
It’s hard to state the precise moment that Midi-chlorians were actually discovered by sentient races in the galaxy, but their existence is tied to a planet steeped in legend. The animated Clone Wars TV series introduced audiences to a planet known as the Wellspring, otherwise referred to as the “Force Planet.”
This was an apt title since it was where the Midi-chlorians first originated, before spreading throughout the galaxy. The Wellspring was an Eden-type planet of pure, harmonious life energy; exactly the sort of place Midi-chlorians would start from. As a bridge to the Living Force, they served as a linchpin for life in the universe.
14 When Did George Lucas Conceptualize The Midi-chlorian Plot Device?
In the latter half of the 1990s, George Lucas did an interview with popular film critic Leonard Maltin where he hinted at the creation of the prequel trilogy. He spoke of a backstory that he’d written long before the filming of the very first Star Wars movie, but many fans began to suspect that he was exaggerating.
Indeed, there have been multiple claims, even from LucasFilm, that Midi-chlorians were conceived as far back as 1977, but these run contrary to past comments Lucas has made about the nature of the Force. The reference book Star Wars: The Making Of Episode I: The Phantom Menace essentially confirms that it was added to the story around 1995 when Lucas was just getting started on prequel preproduction.
13 How Are Midi-Chlorian Counts Measured?
Midi-chlorian counts can be measured by a simple blood test, and the actual count is the number of Midi-chlorians per cell. The Jedi used these tests to measure the Force sensitivity of potential youngling trainees for untold centuries, due to its simplicity.
Qui-Gon Jinn administered one of these tests on Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace and was shocked at just how high his count was. This suggests that the Jedi have been doing this kind of test for a very long time, with accurate results.
12 Does Everybody Have Midi-Chlorians In Their Blood?
A common misconception is that only Force users have Midi-chlorians in their blood. In actuality, everyone’s bloodstream contains them. Force users, however, have a much higher concentration that pushes them past a particular threshold. Blood is easy to test, but it’s just a baseline reference to gauge actual Midi-chlorian cell content. On average, every human has about 1,500 Midi-chlorians per cell.
To be recruited as a Jedi, one needs to have a Midi-chlorian count of around four times that amount, and the most powerful Jedi Knights in Star Wars canon will have around six to seven times that figure. This helps tie into the notion that the Force is within all living things, as every being in the galaxy is connected to it in some small way.
11 Can Somebody’s Midi-chlorian Count Be Increased?
It is possible to increase a Midi-chlorian count simply by extracting someone else’s blood and injecting it, but there is no way to change actual Force sensitivity, making it a futile gesture. This was demonstrated clearly in season two of The Mandalorian when Moff Gideon extracted Grogu’s blood for use in blood transfusion experiments.
In rare cases, a blood transfusion with Midi-chlorian-rich blood can work, which would technically increase the number in a person’s bloodstream, but it would not transfer any of the blood donor’s Force sensitivity. Blood itself is not a Midi-chlorian-rich resource, by definition.
10 What Is The Midi-Chlorians’ Purpose?
Although most Star Wars fans would agree that the Midi-chlorians could be cut out of the movies and they wouldn’t suffer, they do serve a very important purpose in the world that George Lucas has created. When Force users sense something, like a disturbance or the presence of a powerful figure, it’s due to their Midi-chlorian sensitivity.
As Qui-Gon explained to Anakin in The Phantom Menace, “without the Midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force.” In essence, this is a symbiotic relationship that allows for contact to a vast spiritual network; a higher power yet to be fully tapped.
9 Do Midi-Chlorians Contain Force Power?
A common misconception in Star Wars circles is that Midi-chlorians themselves contain the raw Force power by which the user can tap into, but this is not the case. In fact, Midi-chlorians actually play less of a role in determining Force power than many might realize.
In essence, Midi-chlorians are used as a means of determining the amount of connection one has to the Force, but that does not affect their actual Force potential. They are used to create a baseline extrapolation in order to gauge a potential Force user’s power, but they contain no such power by themselves.
8 Was The Imperial Remnant Trying To Extract Midi-chlorians From Grogu?
In the first and second seasons of The Mandalorian, the leftover Imperial Remnant led by Moff Gideon attempts to kidnap the Yoda-like creature Grogu, who shares a very special bond with main character Din Djarin. Dr. Pershing manages to extract blood for use in a number of key experiments, at Gideon’s demand.
Pershing mentions an M-count, which is no doubt a reference to Midi-chlorians. Attempts to inject Grogu’s blood into test subjects failed, possibly because Pershing did not realize that the blood itself contains only a small amount of Midi-chlorians. In actuality, they are present in every single cell of the body, not just the blood.
7 Who Has The Highest Midi-Chlorian Count?
Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Midi-chlorian count is around 13,000, Yoda’s clocks in at 17,700, and Darth Sidious is estimated to be about 20,000. Anakin Skywalker is said to have had the largest Midi-chlorian count in Jedi history, which is around 28,000 to 30,000, with George Lucas insinuating it could be as high as 40,000.
Anakin’s Midi-chlorian count was potentially double that of Sidious, but that is up for debate. Nevertheless, Luke Skywalker and Anakin’s Midi-chlorian counts are probably the same. This goes a long way towards explaining why Luke was able to pick up his Force training so quickly and become so powerful in a short space of time.
6 Did Anakin’s Injuries Affect His Midi-Chlorian Count?
In the final act of Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker had his limbs severed in a lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi, severely injuring him, and forcing him to live a life encased in a mysterious and powerful suit of armor. Since blood is only one place where Midi-chlorians reside, any drop in count would no doubt be negligible.
It has been widely accepted that Darth Vader was never able to achieve his true potential as a Sith Lord, following his injuries. However, he still controlled incredible power, despite his grave injuries and reduced mobility, suggesting that his Midi-chlorian count was not affected to any massive degree.
5 Why Is Anakin’s Midi-Chlorian Count So High?
The reason why Anakin’s Midi-chlorian count is the highest is also the reason why the Skywalker bloodline is so important in the Star Wars saga. In a scene that was cut from Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine explained to Anakin that he manipulated the Midi-chlorians in his mother’s womb to create the perfect apprentice.
Lucas cut the scene to avoid rehashing the “I am your father” reveal from The Empire Strikes Back, but some fans still regard the scene as canon. In reality, this plot thread is still up for debate and has never been fully cemented as a fact. It is far more likely that the Force willed it in order to fulfill the prophecy of the Chosen One.
4 How Is It Possible To Create Life From Midi-Chlorians?
In Revenge of the Sith, the very notion of the Force itself began to evolve, thanks to a scene involving Palpatine telling a tale to a vulnerable Anakin. He recounted the story of Darth Plagueis, a powerful Sith Lord who figured out a way to manipulate Midi-chlorians to create life and supposedly bring back people from death.
Though the latter was no doubt a lie in order to appeal to Anakin’s desire to save Padmé, the former was rooted in ancient Sith legend. Darth Plagueis had researched the Midi-chlorians to such a degree that he may have ascended to the Sith Order’s most knowledgeable acolyte. Exactly whose life he created is still a relative mystery.
3 Why Aren’t They Mentioned In The Sequel Trilogy?
It’s quite possible that LucasFilm realized the divisive nature of the Midi-chlorian plot arc, and sought to keep it out of the new sequel trilogy. Many have said that Disney and LucasFilm axed the entire idea altogether, but this isn’t true. While they aren’t mentioned in the films, they are spoken of in parallel material.
Midi-chlorians were spoken of by Luke Skywalker in the post-Empire era, and they’ve been canonized in the reference book Star Wars: The Secrets of the Jedi. While it’s obvious that Midi-chlorians are being used sparingly, it’s practically impossible to erase them out of existence at this point and would seem too suspicious if anyone tried.
2 Why So Much Hate For The Midi-chlorians?
Lucas upended the entire world when he announced a prequel trilogy back in the late ’90s, and Star Wars fans couldn’t be happier. Unfortunately, many longtime fans felt let down on the opening night of The Phantom Menace due to a variety of creative choices and issues with characters. The Midi-chlorian plot device was like lemon juice and salt on that wound to those fans.
It could be said that Midi-chlorians were a plot device that tried providing an explanation for a mystery that was better left untold. For many fans, The Force worked better when it was left up to the audience to interpret for themselves.
1 What Was George Lucas’ Plan With For Midi-Chlorians?
Following the lackluster response to the Midi-chlorian plot arc and Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, they were effectively fazed out of the Star Wars saga, at least directly. However, if George Lucas had made his own sequel trilogy, they would have played a huge role in the plot.
According to Lucas, “[My sequel trilogy films] were going to get into the microbiotic world. But there’s this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force.” It’s hard to tell if fans would have been more receptive to that vision than they were towards the extremely divisive Disney trilogy.