The Star Wars franchise has created an elaborate web of stories that can be really, really great when they're good. Unfortunately, those stories can be really, really awful when they're not so good. Of the seven installments of the Star Wars films to date, there's one element that has been pretty universally panned by fans. No, it's not Luke and Leia making out or Padme dying because she lost the will to live or even Jar Jar Binks existing. The one thing that legions of Star Wars fans seem united to hate are the midi-chlorians that exist in bloodstreams to allow quantitative measurement of who can be powerful with the Force. As it happens, there's one person involved in the Star Wars franchise who doesn't hate the midi-chlorians. Star Wars Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni has defended them, and his reasons aren't too bad.
To me, when you talk about the Force, the Force is in everything that's alive; that's what Obi-Wan says originally. That's true, even in the days of midi-chlorians, which everybody is afraid to talk about, but I'm not. What that tells you is - when I was a kid, I believed that everybody probably had the Force, and they just didn't believe - midi-chlorians actually prove that theory out. We all have them, just to different degrees.
Dave Filoni's explanation to ComicBook.com about why he doesn't hate that the midi-chlorians are an element of Jedi lore in the Star Wars universe actually makes sense. One of the first things that we learned about the Force in A New Hope was that the Force is everywhere and binds the universe together. Midi-chlorians just happen to be the name that can be put to particles that do the binding. Their introduction in Phantom Menace expands on a precedent, in a way.
The explanation makes even more sense if we give the Force a real world equivalent. Dave Filoni uses Bruce Lee as an example of somebody who was born with a pool of talent for martial arts that gave him the natural ability to excel in his field. Just as some people are born with different talents in the real world, some people in a galaxy far, far away are born with a measurable degree of potential for using the Force.
The Star Wars Rebels showrunner found another way to relate the Star Wars Force to situations in real life. Here's what Dave Filoni had to say about ways that the Force doesn't have to feel so far-fetched to fans:
We were always able to find real-world equivalences to Star Wars to make comparisons that make it feel like it's a real thing. When I talk about Force sensing, I talk about when you are standing somewhere and you don't know but you feel someone standing behind you. It's an extension of those things on a much broader level. The Jedi and Sith have one way of interpreting that.
I can't say that I'm 100% convinced that the Star Wars universe is better off with midi-chlorians as an element of Force canon, but it's good to see that a man at the helm of a Star Wars TV show is willing to embrace plot points that were introduced in the movies, even if one of those movies is The Phantom Menace. Although J.J. Abrams refrained from mentioning them in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, prequel trilogy star Samuel L. Jackson still had midi-chlorians on the brain when it came to Episode VII. Like it or not, midi-chlorians are a thing that exist in Star Wars, and Dave Filoni's acceptance of them is proof enough that he's the right man for the job of running an ongoing series set in the universe of the Force.
Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels is set to debut this fall, and it will include a major villain from the Star Wars books and hopefully more of the young Princess Leia. As a series covering the gap between the third and fourth films in the franchise, we can expect some connections between Season 3 and the upcoming Rogue One movie.