The Star Wars prequel trilogy introduced the concept of midi-chlorians, microscopic organisms connected to the Force, but even the Jedi didn’t really know what they were. Qui-Gon Jinn described the midi-chlorians as being symbionts with the Jedi, “lifeforms working together for mutual advantage,” and that they were essential for life’s existence and knowledge of the Force. This led to the common misconception that midi-chlorians themselves are the Force or Force-carrying vessels when they really serve as a conduit for living beings to touch the Force and understand its will. The Jedi Order used the number of midi-chlorians to measure potential Force sensitivity in Jedi candidates.
Because of the crucial role that midi-chlorians play in Star Wars canon, it’s hard to believe how little is actually known about them. Qui-Gon believed that Anakin Skywalker was conceived by the midi-chlorians, causing the Jedi to declare him the Chosen One of an ancient prophecy. Palpatine also used the midi-chlorians to manipulate Anakin, claiming that Darth Plagueis could influence them to create life, with some Star Wars stories hinting that this is how Anakin Skywalker was created. Despite their significance in the history of Star Wars, the midi-chlorians are still something of a mystery, one even the Jedi couldn’t fully unravel.
Even At Their Height, The Jedi Didn’t Know Everything About Midi-Chlorians
Star Wars canon has made clear that the Jedi Order didn’t know everything about midi-chlorians, even at their height during the High Republic era. The in-universe book Chronicles of the Jedi contains reflections from this time, approximately 200 years before Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. In one section, notes on Grand Master Lahru reveal that basic prequel-era knowledge of midi-chlorians had only recently been discovered. Lahru was celebrated for his studies, commenting that “some believe it will someday be possible to more accurately identify and measure the presence of the midi-chlorians in other life-forms.”
Whereas the Jedi Order had 25,000 years to study the Force itself, they only had 200 years to study the midi-chlorians that shared a mysterious connection with it. Yoda himself continued to learn more in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, where he was guided by the spirit of Qui-Gon to learn the secret of becoming a Force Ghost. Yoda journeyed to a mystical world called the Wellspring of Life, the birthplace of the midi-chlorians that served as the link between the Living Force and the Cosmic Force. This demonstrates how much Yoda and the Jedi still had to learn about the midi-chlorians and the Force itself.
Will Star Wars Ever Reveal More About Midi-Chlorians?
Only time will tell if the Star Wars franchise will explore the midi-chlorians in greater detail, especially with how much controversy surrounds them. George Lucas believed that a physical aspect of the Force didn’t detract from its mystical quality, viewing the Force as having separate biological and metaphysical sides. However, some critics felt that the midi-chlorians detracted from the Force’s mystery and spirituality, a focal point throughout the original Star Wars trilogy. This may have contributed to Lucas not including the midi-chlorians in the rest of the prequel trilogy, with only a single mention from Palpatine in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
On the other hand, there’s evidence to suggest that Star Wars will indeed reveal more about midi-chlorians. Lucas’ sequel trilogy would have explored the microbiotic world of the Force, centering on single-celled beings called the Whills that communicate through the midi-chlorians. While Lucas’ sequel trilogy never came to fruition, Star Wars canon could still explore the concept, possibly through the Guardians of the Whills. Whatever the case, it’s clear that even the Jedi have a lot to learn about midi-chlorians, making them one of the most fascinating yet mysterious aspects of the Star Wars franchise.