Earlier this year director J.J. Abrams confirmed that he once again spoke with Star Wars creator George Lucas ahead of production on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth episode in the main series and the official end of the “Skywalker Saga.” At the time Abrams revealed that their meeting with Lucas was to get a sense of finality from the franchise's creator about its conclusion and pick his brain on his ideas about the franchise as a whole and its many machinations. One major thing Abrams neglected to mention that came up though happens to be a major sticking point with some fans of the series.
In a new interview with Total Film Magazine, Abrams revealed that his conversation with Lucas veered into the territory of the Star Wars prequels, specifically the ever controversial “midi-chlorians.” First mentioned in 1999's Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the midi-chlorians were revealed as microscopic organisms that live in Force users, giving new meaning to a living connection to The Force that fans had come to know. According to Abrams, George still loves the idea and brought it up while discussing the final film in the saga.
“He had a lot of things to say about the nature of the Force, the themes that he was dealing with when he was writing the movies,” Abrams said. “Yes, there were some conversations about Midi-chlorians – he loves his Midi-chlorians. But it was a very helpful thing. Sitting with him is a treat, just to hear him talk, because it’s f***ing George Lucas talking about Star Wars. I always feel it’s a gift to hear him talk about that stuff. Because the effect that he had on me at 10 years old is utterly profound.”
One of the many things fans have vocally disliked about the prequel films were the midi-chlorians, citing how this explanation of The Force's powers removes the mystery of it from the story but also delivers a weirdly scientific explanation for something so rooted in spirituality. There were references to the midi-chlorians in other Star Wars canon beyond the prequel films, including some episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but most of these moments were relegated to spin-off book and novels, all no longer canon under the Star Wars umbrella and now their own branch called “Legends.” There has been no mention of them at all in the new films produced by Lucasfilm since being purchased by The Walt Disney Company.
Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney back in 2012 and has had little involvement in the trajectory of the saga despite frequent reports of being consulted by the filmmakers. While numerous reports have claimed that Lucas has been involved, the films have largely followed their own path, so it's unclear how Lucas' input (and midi-chlorians) could impact the ninth episode at all. Abrams has previously revealed that Rise of Skywalker will make reference to all of the main franchise films in Star Wars, bringing them all together to officially close it out for good, so perhaps there's still some gas left in the midi-chlorian tank.
Fans will see how that story comes together (midi-chlorians or not) when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th.