I’m going to be controversial today. I’m going to defend midichlorians.
[[Read in an outraged nerd voice.]] What? Oliver Kerrigan! How dare you? Midichlorians are dumb! [[Finish reading in an outraged, nerd voice.]]
Wait just a minute. Let me explain my point of view.
It’s easy to hate on the Star Wars prequels. The Phantom Menace does get a lot of hate, unjustified in my opinion, especially considering its sequel. Whilst an unspectacular film, one detail does get ridiculed on various online blogs, the Midichlorians. What are midichlorians you ask? Well, according to Wookiepedia (hah!), they are microscopic organisms existing in all living cells that connect living beings to the Force, the cause and solutions to all the problems in the Star Wars universe. And for the life of me, I don’t get the problem with them.
For one, it’s a rare attempt for the Star Wars films to actually explain the hijinks that dictate its own universe. As good as the original trilogy is, they hardly explain much. How does the Death Star blow up planets? What science allows starships and the Death Star to travel across vast interstellar distances so easily? It ain’t explained, just dusted off in favour for the action scenes. Yes, Rogue One explained the Death Star decades later and the expanded universe explains all the finer lore details, but only a fraction of the fanbase have dared explore other media. Most people watch the films only.
The higher the midichlorian count, the stronger one is with the Force. That’s simple enough to get. Anakin has a higher count than everyone else and that’s why he’s so important. I think the problem is that people saw the midichlorians as mere bacteria. These people forget how vital microorganisms are to the world’s ecology. We would not be alive without certain bacteria in our bodies. Humans need bacteria to survive and it helps solidify the symbiant metaphor Episode I was going for. It was one of the cleverer ideas conveyed in the film. Now, the midichlorians help tap into the force. Sure, it’s fantastical that a microscopic organism helps connect us to a magical forcefield, but need I remind you, this is Star Wars! This is the film series where small, primitive teddy bears can shatter state of the art armour with a flint axe! Your sense of disbelief should have been left outside the cinema, heck when you parked your car in the shopping centre car park.
One of the details I liked from the Phantom Menace was that in order to find the midichlorian count, one simply does a blood test. I really like this. For a fantastical space opera where the fi is emphasised in its sci-fi classification, a blood test is simple, quick and efficient. If you have a high enough count, you could be trained to be a Jedi. Given the fact the Jedi have been around for God knows how many millenia, they probably appreciated a quantitative number to aid their selection process. An odd unity between science and religion (Now there’s a sentence you weren’t expecting.)
So are midichlorians the cleverest exposition ever? No. They’re average. Not good nor bad, but perfectly fine. Star Wars is about lightsabers and the Force not cellular biochemistry. In fact, midichlorians were only mentioned in a couple of lines in the film during the quieter, less memorable scenes. It’s there for those who like their lore (well dislike the lore as it turned out.)
Want more? Well I’m writing a novel called the Successor of Ramiel, a story involving sarcastic Angels, malicious Fallen Angels and everything in between:
Interested? Here’s a link to recent scenes I’ve uploaded:
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