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Even years after their release, the Star Wars prequels raise the ire of many fans (don’t worry, we’re well aware there are prequel supporters out there, but there are also a lot of haters). One of the things that rubbed many the wrong way was how George Lucas took the idea of the Force, which was up to that point spiritual and esoteric, and gave it a concrete, physical, even biological explanation with the introduction of midi-chlorians. If that concerns you, don’t worry, you won’t hear much about those in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Director J.J. Abrams has said that there will be no mention of midi-chlorians in the new movie, and when Slashfilm caught up with him recently, he revealed some about how he will approach the subject of the Force, and it has less to do with midi-chlorians and bloodlines. He said:
Being strong with the force didn’t mean something scientific, it meant something spiritual. It meant someone who could believe, someone who could reach down to the depths of your feelings and follow this primal energy that was flowing through all of us. I mean, that’s what was said in that first film!...We would like to believe that when shit gets serious, that you could harness that Force I was told surrounds not just some of us but every living thing. And so, I really feel like the assumption that any character needs to have inherited a certain number of midi-chlorians or needs to be part of a bloodline, it’s not that I don’t believe that as part of the canon...but I also say that the Force has always seemed to me to be more inclusive and stronger than that.
A lifelong fan of the space opera, Abrams has a similar stance on the subject as many others. It’s referred to as a religion multiple times in the original saga, and in giving it a hard and fast definition, it lost some of the magic and power. From what he says, it appears that Abrams is going to do what he can in order to restore some of that sense of wonder and spirituality.
The way the timeline of The Force Awakens works out, Abrams and company don’t even need to necessarily delve into any revisionist history. Picking up 30 years after Return of the Jedi, the Jedi and the Force have largely faded into myth and legend. Even by the time of the original trilogy, there we almost no Jedi left, and much of their knowledge was lost after Order 66 decimated the population and those that were left were forced into hiding like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. In this scenario, it would make sense that much information, like, for instance, the idea of midi-chlorians, was lost to time. It probably still exists somewhere, but it isn’t exactly common knowledge these days and won’t come to the forefront.
We’ll get to see exactly how J.J. Abrams and company deal with the idea of the Force when Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18. It’s not long now.