This Is How Star Wars Can Redeem Midichlorians

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This Is How Star Wars Can Redeem Midichlorians

Can we do a better job than George Lucas did with midichlorians by instead invoking genetics?

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All I got from that was how royally screwed that X-wing was, on account of you pitting the poor thing up against a pair of TIE Defenders..

Seriously though, I agree. Don't mention them. Just pretend they never happened, along with everything else from the Prequels. Just as it should be.

Yea, agreed, don't even bring them up at all. Everyone is already pretending they never happened.

Everyone assumes it's partly genetic, partly living vague power and that's all it needs to be.

People, you're missing an incredibly easy explanation (and my personal headcanon):

The Jedi had it bass-ackwards. The Force creates midichlorians, not the other way around.

Episode 1 is the only Midichlorians are even mentioned as far as I'm aware. I've seen the other 2 prequel movies and plenty EU stuff and neither seems to ever mention them so I don't think they will going forward either.

However, I still do not understand the hate that Star Wars fans seem to have for the idea of Midichlorians. All it seems to do is confirm that there's a biological medium through which The Force is manipulated and thus a means to detect who is Force Sensitive and who isn't. It doesn't demystify The Force in any way or seem to affect much of anything about Star Wars at all for that matter.

Neverhoodian:

The Jedi had it bass-ackwards. The Force creates midichlorians, not the other way around.

I don't see how anything that the Jedi say about midichlorians gives any indication that the Midichlorians create The Force in the first place or why Star Wars fans could even get the idea that they do or that the Jedi think they do.

What if 'The Force' is like gravity or something?

With Midichlorians being a bacteria that somehow 'feeds' on it while inside a host.

The resulting 'Force Levels' are there, regardless of the midichlorian.
But, because the number of midichlorians is dependent the concentration of The Force in something, they're used as a measurement.

I was hoping for this to be interesting, but it's just very basic genetics.
When you say to me "Redeeming Midichlorians with Science" I'd say; make The Force the ability to manipulate dark matter, and dark energy.

I have a limited understanding of those topics, -unlike genetics- but as far as I know there is much wiggle room in the theories and what dark matter forms there are out there. But we do know it generates intense gravitational effects, so for instance drawing a lot of WIMPS could be used to explain force pull. The WIMPS are undetectable, except that they are very heavy and can attract regular matter.

Force push could be anti-dark matter particles, which could generate anti-gravity.
(Before you jump on that; we still cannot determine wether the REGULAR anti-matter we produce has anti-gravity (G=-1), regular gravity (G=1) or anything in between (G>-1 & G<1) ...). This is because anti-matter currently needs to be magnetically constricted to prevent it from annihilating with regular matter, and thus we have yet to let it move about freely and see if it (slow) falls up, down or just floats...

And also no hating on the idea of trying to explain some Force things with science, please...
I like my Force awesome and very mysterious like most of us, but I agree wholehartedly that if we must we can at least do better than cringe worthy magic bacteria that only convolude things and make everyone reflexively facepalm.

The one thing farthest from science IMHO would be Jedi Mind Trick. Which, as the name implies, is more of a trick than a power per se? Something psychological-ish. Can't see how anything else would make much sense, science wise.

I think people bitching about Midichlorians is ridiculous, even in the original movies it was clear that the force was passed down through the family lines and thus it was a genetic trait of some sort, all Ep 1 did was make a name for what was already basically established.

Small but rather important point force users appear in different species with entirely different DNA. Its very unlikely that different species would have the same recessive genes. My money is on Gandalf on a Friday night on the Romulan ale

Ugh, really this article was a big nothing. Abrams has the right idea, lets not go all geeky trying to explain it with science, unless you want to explain hyperspace with science too.

"A wizard did it" is good enough for me in this case

immortalfrieza:
However, I still do not understand the hate that Star Wars fans seem to have for the idea of Midichlorians. All it seems to do is confirm that there's a biological medium through which The Force is manipulated and thus a means to detect who is Force Sensitive and who isn't.

Firstly, that's exactly the problem - it gives an explanation for something that didn't actually need one. In the original films, the Force was some vague, mystical thing. It existed, it could have some effect on the world, but for the most part no-one knew much about it or even necessarily knew it existed. The Jedi were a religious order, not a science lab. The problem isn't so much that mitochondria are a terrible explanation, the problem is with the idea that the explanation was needed at all. We suddenly jumped from ancient mysticism to common blood tests for no apparent reason. It's as though halfway through Lord of the Rings Tolkien suddenly started using Vancian magic. There's nothing inherently wrong with Vancian magic, but not only does it not fit well in Tolkien's universe, changing halfway through would be extremely jarring. I like Tolkien and I like D&D, but that doesn't mean I want Gandalf to suddenly start explaining how he can only cast two fireballs per day until he gains another level.

Secondly, Jesus. The midichlorian explanation was given to us at exactly the same time we were told that Anakin was space Jesus, born from a virgin to fulfil the prophecies about the messiah. Religious metaphors aren't always bad (see Robocop for example), but being that incredibly blatant and then never actually going anywhere with it or even mentioning it again at all (the prophecy pops up a couple of times, but the virgin birth thing never does despite apparently being an incredibly important, unprecedented occurrence) is just terrible. And while space Jesus and midichlorians could have been introduced entirely independently with neither actually being relevant to the other, the fact is that they weren't. Midicholorians were introduced to us in the same breath as the most ham-fisted and misplaced bit of religious nonsense ever forcibly inserted into a silly space opera, and are forever tainted by association as a result.

Just say what I always assumed the Midichlorians are just parasites that feed off Force energy or whatever you want to call it. There for more power in the force more parasites you have.

It should never be spoken of again. If Force aptitude was measurable by a quick blood/tissue sample test, the Empire would have every kid tested at birth and either drafted or euthanized. Best to leave it as it was after the original trilogy - a cryptomystical energy that can't be completely explained or scientifically quantified.

Honestly, not to get all offensive here, but this does seem to just be fanboy whining, as usual. I'd bet my entire lifesavings that if midichlorians were mentioned in the original trilogy there wouldn't be a peep about it. Likewise, if the prequel trilogy were actually good in their own right, then people would probably just accept them as another part of the canon. Yet because the prequels were so disappointing it seems everything must be hated regardless of their own merits.

Yeah yeah, demystifying the lore, blah blah didn't need to be explained, I've heard it all before. May i ask what this great lore was that they ruined?
"The force is this mystical phenomenon that gives people plot-convenient powers, and some people are more sensitive to it because..." has now become "The force is this mystical phenomenon that gives people plot-convenient powers, and some people are more sensitive to it because midichlorians."

Come off it, the only reason midichlorians existed was to prop up their chosen one story by giving people a quantifiable way to measure their power. After all, even in the original trilogy it was implied that some people had a greater affinity with the force, all they did was put a name to it. It really doesn't change anything, nor does it make the theme less mystical.
I still don't see why this is such a big deal.

They should take the DBZ approach and constantly bring up midichlorians as a measure of how awesome someone is in order to add tension/drama. Embrace the existing lore and make the best out of something that was received poorly.

Sorry, but who cares? No one complains about how you can hear sound in space, so why does anyone care about whether people have force powers via genetics, magic bacteria, or plain old "you just do"?

I love Star Wars, but I think people sometimes forget that Lucas intended them to be kid-friendly movies that adults could enjoy too. This isn't "2001: A Space Odyssey", and kids don't want to sit through long drawn out scenes of characters talking about genetic mutations and the probability of acquiring inheritable traits.

babinro:
They should take the DBZ approach and constantly bring up midichlorians as a measure of how awesome someone is in order to add tension/drama. Embrace the existing lore and make the best out of something that was received poorly.

Ok, I could totally get behind this: "His midichlorian level is 976! We don't stand a chance!"

immortalfrieza:

However, I still do not understand the hate that Star Wars fans seem to have for the idea of Midichlorians. All it seems to do is confirm that there's a biological medium through which The Force is manipulated and thus a means to detect who is Force Sensitive and who isn't. It doesn't demystify The Force in any way or seem to affect much of anything about Star Wars at all for that matter.

Because the explanation of the midichlorians doesn't actually explain anything. How do these little biological thingies allow energy and awareness to cross distances of a galactic scale? How does it allow a force user the ability to lift tons of weight with his mind? It doesn't, it doesn't explain anything. It just makes a really stupid "scientific" reason for something that before was mysterious and mystic, without actually doing anything to explain how it works.

It basically replaces "It's a mystery" with "It's SCIENCE! LULZ", but doesn't actually provide any new information on the matter at all. It would've been better to just leave it a mystery, instead of trying to provide some lame scientific, hand wave excuse for it.

The only way The Force makes sense to me is as an adaptable trait present in all creatures, like empathy.

Empathy, in its truest form, is instinctual perception. Every animal is instinctually capable of interpreting body language and non-verbal cues from other animals, that's how they communicate almost silently. Some animals are more social and by extension better at it than others, but all animals are capable of this action, including humans.

Where humans differ with animals in this regard is the degree to which they can exploit it when they are skilled and/or talented at it. Just like math or art, anyone can learn to be empathic and instinctually read creatures' nonverbal cues, but some people naturally excel at it. Those who naturally excel at it often experience moments in their life when people look at them funny because they will say or do something that shouldn't make sense unless they had some knowledge they didn't have (I'm talking natural everyday occurrences, not paid psychics).

With refinement skilled empaths can take their talents to seemingly supernatural levels, but that skill isn't beyond anyone. In fact it is quite common for dedicated monks, especially of meditative disciplines, to be adept at sensing a great deal about someone just by looking at them.

This probably sounds like a useful skill much like basic force levitation right? Well it is. But you also don't see everyone dedicating hours of study every day to develop such skills. Why? Well mostly because people think it's 'hokey' or nonsense, much in the manner of Han Solo. Greater empathy also brings with it a level of responsibility because you begin feeling what others feel more deeply and it becomes harder to accept and deal with everyday common cruelties (there's more than one reason monks live in seclusion).

Translate this to force powers and it neatly explains every facet of the force in established canon (both with and without the EU). Not to mention it jives with the 'flavor' of the force far better than something as asinine as midichlorines or genetics.

People have children with personalities and skills similar to their own, so a couple who's adept at understanding and manipulating the force will have children who are naturally inclined to understand and manipulate the force.

Animals are capable of basic force skills, but only the ones who've developed an instinctual understanding of that facet of the force for survival.

Every person is capable of developing force skills, but only a few are either brave, disciplined, or instinctually inclined enough to do it (hello punishingly-demanding-Jedi-training).

Sith who've never had Jedi training, like poker grifters, learned to use their skills for self-gain, on their own, without a code of morality to guide their greater understanding of life. Genetics or midichlorines would provide no method of understanding how to use force 'abilities' without instinct, and as I've spent this whole post explaining, instinct renders all this predestination genetics/midichlorine nonsense moot and unnecessary.

Finally, both midichlorines and genetics fly in the face of 'The Force'. The force has always been described as something that binds the whole universe together, a kind of shared omnipresence between organisms, not a super power lottery. Reducing the force to a simple gene or physical characteristic destroys its spiritual significance and by extension the entire presence of the Jedi/Sith orders. I mean the Star Wars universe already has the capability to clone an entire army in half a human lifespan. If the force were as easy to understand as genetics or midichlorines in a universe like that, you'd better believe someone would have already made and mass marketed 'force pills' or something to give everyone super powers.

Anyway, I don't hold the reigns on the franchise, and predestination is all the rage now, but I wanted to get this out into the aether. I don't know if anyone else holds a similar view on 'the force' or if everyone totally digs the predestination schtick, but for my part I always have to plug in the above to any given Star Wars story or the force just doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever.

Happyninja42:
Because the explanation of the midichlorians doesn't actually explain anything. How do these little biological thingies allow energy and awareness to cross distances of a galactic scale?

They don't. They sense and channel that energy, not project it.

How does it allow a force user the ability to lift tons of weight with his mind?

Again, it is still the "mystical" Force doing the literal heavy lifting here. The midichlorians just allow the Jedi/Sith/whatever to channel the Force. How does the Force lift heavy crap and toss it around? We don't know.

It doesn't, it doesn't explain anything.

Asides from why certain animals can be Force sensitive, or why Force sensitivity is passed down through bloodlines, or why some Force users are outright more powerful than others, or how the Jedi even identified Force-sensitives, et cetera, et cetera. In other words, the things that it was meant to explain. The real handwave nonsense would be to answer all of these questions with "Oh, because the Force is mystical, and do pretty much anything."

It just makes a really stupid "scientific" reason for something that before was mysterious and mystic, without actually doing anything to explain how it works. It basically replaces "It's a mystery" with "It's SCIENCE! LULZ", but doesn't actually provide any new information on the matter at all. It would've been better to just leave it a mystery, instead of trying to provide some lame scientific, hand wave excuse for it.

It was never meant to explain "how it works." It applies science to mysticism in an ostensibly science-oriented universe, without actually demystifying anything. The things that midichlorians don't explain are precisely what still make the Force the mystical, omnipresent energy field that it is. Having a scientific basis for why certain people can sense/manipulate it and why others cannot does nothing to ruin what makes the Force mysterious.

Reminds me of Discworld, and why wizards aren't supposed to have offspring. Because a seventh son of a seventh son of a wizard is a sourcerer, and that kind of craziness just ends up breaking the world.

immortalfrieza:

However, I still do not understand the hate that Star Wars fans seem to have for the idea of Midichlorians.

I'm not a huge fan of science trying to explain my space magic, or the inconsistencies between the old trilogy and the new trilogy, but I really don't get the hate either.

Explaining magic with science is always dumb.

Mahorfeus:

Happyninja42:
Because the explanation of the midichlorians doesn't actually explain anything. How do these little biological thingies allow energy and awareness to cross distances of a galactic scale?

They don't. They sense and channel that energy, not project it.

How?

Mahorfeus:
Again, it is still the "mystical" Force doing the literal heavy lifting here. The midichlorians just allow the Jedi/Sith/whatever to channel the Force. How does the Force lift heavy crap and toss it around? We don't know.

Then why bother trying to explain it if you're not going to actually explain it?

It doesn't, it doesn't explain anything.

Mahorfeus:
Asides from why certain animals can be Force sensitive, or why Force sensitivity is passed down through bloodlines, or why some Force users are outright more powerful than others, or how the Jedi even identified Force-sensitives, et cetera, et cetera. In other words, the things that it was meant to explain. The real handwave nonsense would be to answer all of these questions with "Oh, because the Force is mystical, and do pretty much anything."

But that's just it, it doesn't explain how this is possible. All it does it change the reason from something unknown, to something equally unknown, but with a biological source. They don't explain why these midichlorians have anything to do with the force, or why having more of them make you more force powerful. It just stuck a specific definition on something that didn't need any explanation. Especially an explanation that doesn't provide any new information on how it works. I agree that they are both handwaves, but the fact that there wasn't any need to explain why the force works, especially in a lame scientific way, that actually doesn't explain anything. He simply changed the answer from "Because Reasons" to "Because Midichlorians". That provides no new true information, or actually expand anything whatsoever. It didn't need to be there at all.

It just makes a really stupid "scientific" reason for something that before was mysterious and mystic, without actually doing anything to explain how it works. It basically replaces "It's a mystery" with "It's SCIENCE! LULZ", but doesn't actually provide any new information on the matter at all. It would've been better to just leave it a mystery, instead of trying to provide some lame scientific, hand wave excuse for it.

Mahorfeus:
It was never meant to explain "how it works." It applies science to mysticism in an ostensibly science-oriented universe, without actually demystifying anything. The things that midichlorians don't explain are precisely what still make the Force the mystical, omnipresent energy field that it is. Having a scientific basis for why certain people can sense/manipulate it and why others cannot does nothing to ruin what makes the Force mysterious.

I didn't say anything about making it less mysterious, I said it doesn't actually explain anything, or provide any real new information on the subject. It answered a question that didn't need answering. If the actual function of the Force itself is still mystic and mysterious, then what is the point of adding midichlorians to the story? It doesn't, as you said, explain how the force works, it just sticks a science label on something that is, at it's core, still explained via mystic methods. So why bother? Why even go to the effort to explain it? Just leave the whole thing mystic if you aren't going to actually explain how it works. And saying it's because of these microbes doesn't actually explain anything. And honestly, I don't really want him to, it's not something that needs to be explained, just like all the other stuff that doesn't make any scientific sense in the star wars-verse. If Because It's Cool is a good enough reason for why the space ships make sound in space, and fly like planes do in an atmosphere, then why single out the force for a "real" reason for it? Just leave it all vague, instead of having a reason that actually doesn't provide anything new to the story.

Interesting, however,I've always assumed Midichlorians were similar to Mitochondria. Even the names are similar. (Accent single cellular organism, that have formed a symbiosis with multi cellular organisms and are responsible for life as we know it).

So, we have similar name, similar origin stories.

It would make force sensitive less like a microbial infection and more like skin colour. depending on lineage an increased or decreased amount or affinity to bind with midichlorians on a cellular level.

Interesting, however,I've always assumed Midichlorians were similar to Mitochondria. Even the names are similar. (Accent single cellular organism, that have formed a symbiosis with multi cellular organisms and are responsible for life as we know it).

So, we have similar name, similar origin stories.

It would make force sensitive less like a microbial infection and more like skin colour. depending on lineage an increased or decreased amount or affinity to bind with midichlorians on a cellular level.

I got the impression that while Jedi can sense other force users, the Midichlorian test was simply to measure their potential through the abundance of a parasite. If they are a Jedi, but have virtually no force potential, then there's no point in training them. As for the spiritual argument that logic seems to run counter to the general hostility towards Anakin's fatherless conception and the general acceptance of genetic theory by the same people. As for the scientific explanation, I'm not sure genetic mutations could give you so many abilities in one go. However,for the force awakens to have Jedi and Sith, it looks like they'll either have had to be hiding all this time or else that the Force does occasionally create more Jedi or 'awaken' abilities within people...

EDIT:...wait...did I just get suckered into commenting on an article that says not to address midichlorian, while doing the complete opposite...

this is why I always prefered star wars over star trek.
Star Trek always made a point of explaining all the technology behind it's lore.
Most things fell flat with a basic knowledge of physics.

One time, I remeber a guy explaining how some high tech weaponry worked...and I thought "hey, I have that right here at home...it's called a flash light".
With Star Wars it was always like BAM space-magic, that's just how it is!

Okay but as far as the movies are concerned at the end of Return of the Jedi only one trained Jedi is alive: Luke.
And he could know jack shit about Midichlorians since nobody ever told him in the movies.
It's a good setup for "lost knowledge". In this case one that just stay lost.
I'm very much for never ever mentioning it again.

The original movies portrayed the Force as a religious or moral concept - good vs. evil, light vs. dark, calm v. aggression. Shoehorning in a scientific explanation takes you out of those dichotomies a little. The air of mystery the Force had adds to the lore. The biological explanation doesn't add much to the equation. That is why I didn't care for it.

Eh, I think the Force as a disease makes much more sense. For instance, there are diseases you can pass on to your offspring (HIV comes to mind). Also, the strict training the Jedi undergo probably weakens their immune systems or something, allowing the midichlorians to thrive. Also, like with genes, people can be carriers of a disease and not ever have any symptoms. Also, one of the things that makes some diseases so scary is how they can change, suddenly becoming far more potent than before. In this case, perhaps a random mutation in midichlorians leads to an outbreak of Force sensitivity- an awakening, if you will.

Since I played Parasites Eve I was okay with midichlorians the problem was a lack of mysticism and depth in everything but the CGI and saber fights..

Happyninja42:

Because the explanation of the midichlorians doesn't actually explain anything. How do these little biological thingies allow energy and awareness to cross distances of a galactic scale? How does it allow a force user the ability to lift tons of weight with his mind? It doesn't, it doesn't explain anything.

It explains plenty. Specifically:

1. Why some people are able to use the Force and why some people are stronger with it than others.

2. How the Force Orders are able to find out who is Force Sensitive and who isn't and thus able to find them to train them.

3. Most importantly for that scene, it explains why Anakin is notable. He has an excessive amount of Midichlorians, more than has ever been recorded, therefore he's probably pretty damned strong in The Force and probably has a pretty significant role to play.

The Midichlorians don't explain anything about The Force itself and I don't think it was ever intended to, it's still as mystical and mysterious as ever. The Midichlorians just explain why people are able to use it. It's like how in how in countless fantasy settings there's various explanations for how people can use magic but if the author wants magic to be a mysterious and unknowable force it still is despite that.

FirstNameLastName:
Snip

Fanboy whining is a pretty good way to put it. In fact, most of the criticisms I hear people giving prequel trilogy boils down to "it's not the original trilogy therefore it's bad." If the prequels had come first I think a great deal of the problems people seem to have with it now would go unnoticed or people wouldn't care about them. After all, most of those problems are ones the original trilogy especially Return of the Jedi also had but nobody cared about them because it was a new fresh IP nobody had a chance to get invested in yet.

immortalfrieza:
[...]If the prequels had come first I think a great deal of the problems people seem to have with it now would go unnoticed or people wouldn't care about them. After all, most of those problems are ones the original trilogy especially Return of the Jedi also had but nobody cared about them because it was a new fresh IP nobody had a chance to get invested in yet.

To be fair, if the prequels came first - The Phantom Menace, specifically - I don't think there would have been any other movies. Fanboy nitpicks aside, they were objectively worse movies than the original trilogy in almost every way. Pacing, acting, plot, drama, etc. The reason we nitpick is because it's easy to find scapegoats like Jar Jar and midichlorians that can sum up everything that is terrible about these movies in a few short words or brief images.

J-thacker:
Interesting, however,I've always assumed Midichlorians were similar to Mitochondria. Even the names are similar. (Accent single cellular organism, that have formed a symbiosis with multi cellular organisms and are responsible for life as we know it).

So, we have similar name, similar origin stories.

It would make force sensitive less like a microbial infection and more like skin colour. depending on lineage an increased or decreased amount or affinity to bind with midichlorians on a cellular level.

That would also make the force trait something that can be passed on only through the mother, so the queen would have to have been the strong force user, instead of Anakin.

I like the viral explanation on this page better.

veloper:
That would also make the force trait something that can be passed on only through the mother, so the queen would have to have been the strong force user, instead of Anakin.

I like the viral explanation on this page better.

In Mitochondria that would be true. With Midichlorians they could easily be passed on my both OR just using the films as cannon could only be passed via the Paternal line.

However, since Luke and Leia have different sensitivity to the force it would be more likely they are passed by both parents.

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