From what I understand, midi-chlorian count is a strong indicator of ability in the Force (though there are other factors as well). So it seems like when Anakin loses his arm or Luke loses his hand, their midi-chlorian counts (and thus their Force ability) should slightly diminish.

Is this the case?

  • 20
    Does white cell count diminish when we lose a part of our body? Is this midi-chlorian count thingy an absolute value or a measure of concentration? Jun 11, 2011 at 14:40
  • 9
    @Kyralessa - sorry, you're on the wrong StackExchange for that particular complaint. Jun 12, 2011 at 6:28
  • 2
    @Ian Pugsley - If Lucas can retro-edit the original Star Wars to add stuff, why couldn't he edit the 'midichlorian' non-sense out of the later movies? It added nothing, and indeed, subtracted a LOT.
    – JustJeff
    Jun 12, 2011 at 17:32
  • 3
    @JustJeff - he certainly could, but until now, he hasn't. I am in no way defending midi-chlorians, don't get me wrong - I just mean that at the moment, it's canon, and there is value in this question. Jun 12, 2011 at 18:07
  • 18
    would drinking a strong force users blood increase your count?
    – Andy
    Jun 13, 2011 at 11:17

17 Answers 17


It would seem to follow, if midichlorians were responsible for a person's connection to the Force, that this would be this case.

Since Vader does NOT become notably weaker in the Force after losing hands or other limbs, but rather grows in strength, that midichlorians are NOT the tie between people and the Force.

"But," you say, "Qui-Gon said so himself!"

Yes, yes, you're very clever. Now remember who he was talking to: Anakin, at all of 8 years old, and his uneducated slave mother. While he wouldn't have done a midichlorian count if it weren't an indicator, I believe they are just that: an indicator.

I believe that midichlorians are drawn to force-sensitive individuals, and that their presence is an effect of the Force, not a cause.

This would be difficult to explain to a young child, especially without freaking him out. Qui-Gon, if my theory is correct, simply talked down to his level of education, to make it easier to understand.

Further evidence for the divorce between midichlorians and Force presence is given by the presence and activities of 'Force Ghosts' and Exar Kun's presence on Yavin's fourth moon (as seen in the Jedi Academy Trilogy) - they have no physical form, but their Force abilities cannot be denied.

  • 25
    It's sad to say, but this answer is wrong. Vader does become noticeably weaker in the Force; see Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith by Stover, which is C-level canon. The argument that Force ghosts are powerful isn't related; they're powerful because they're part of the Force itself.
    – Reid
    Jul 28, 2011 at 22:45
  • 6
    @Reid: Vader becomes unable to do many of the acrobatic acts he'd previously been able to do, but I read that as more of a limitation of the mechanical parts than a lack of strength in the Force - you can't enhance mechanical parts the same way as biological ones. Vader's still a powerhouse when it comes to raw Force potential (look at the crap he threw at Luke in ESB!) he just FEELS weaker because he's always equated Force power with direct combat.
    – Jeff
    Jul 29, 2011 at 12:56
  • 5
    @Jeff: he is indeed still a powerhouse; according to Lucas, he's got 80% of the emperor's strength. But he is significantly weaker than he would have been, according to Lucas. See my answer below. It explains a little more.
    – Reid
    Jul 29, 2011 at 13:27
  • 28
    -1 because "midichlorians are just attracted to the Force, not the cause of it" is fan-canon that is directly contradicted by actual canon, despite the fact that it's significantly more sensible, reasonable, and a better idea overall.
    – Tacroy
    Oct 15, 2012 at 23:46
  • 6
    agree with Reid. This is an incorrect answer directly refuted by canon and Lucas in interviews.
    – tyson
    Aug 26, 2014 at 1:54

There is definitely a correlation between the two, despite what some fans who dislike the midichlorian concept say (I can sympathize). See Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith by Stover, a book which is G-level canon.

Here is the appropriate quote (p. 417, hardback, first edition):

And you rage and scream and reach through the Force to crush the shadow who has destroyed you, but you are so far less now than what you were, you are more than half machine, you are like a painter gone blind, a composer gone deaf, you can remember where the power was but the power you can touch is only a memory, and so with all your world-destroying fury it is only droids around you that implode, and equipment, and the table on which you were strapped shatters, and in the end, you cannot touch the shadow.

A bit of context with this quote: this book will, from time to time, have sections describing how the characters are feeling, what they are doing, etc. These sections are written in second person, directly addressing the reader as if you were the character in question. This is one of my favorite parts of the book, which is why I remembered it offhand.

So, this quote is describing Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. "The shadow" refers to Palpatine, who is responsible in Anakin's eyes for the death of Padmé. As you can see, the quote makes it pretty clear that Darth Vader is a lot weaker than he once was.

In Empire of Dreams, Lucas says this:

However, after all of his limbs were severed, and he was extremely burned on Mustafar, he lost much of his Force potential. As Darth Vader, Skywalker was believed to have had roughly 80% of the strength of the Emperor. Had he sustained none of his injuries on Mustafar, he would have been twice as powerful.

If that quote is not convincing enough, I don't know what is.

As I said above, there are some purists who believe the midichlorians spoiled the magic/mystic element of Star Wars and so therefore simply discount them. But if you want a canonical answer, it's pretty clear: losing body parts does diminish Force ability.

  • 1
    @grautur: No idea, really. I mean, Star Wars isn't exactly known for its factual accuracy. Haha. 40% seems to be pretty believable, though... he lost all of his limbs and only had his torso/head, after all, plus it says "you are more than half machine" (60%?).
    – Reid
    Jul 29, 2011 at 13:26
  • 2
    So...he's weaker than he was at his prime when he's strapped to the table after spending who knows how long breathing barely oxygenated air, engaging in a MASSIVE lightsaber duel with one of the most skilled duelists alive, and suffering severe trauma? Of course he's weak at that point, he's just starting to recover from being mostly dead.
    – Jeff
    Jul 29, 2011 at 13:56
  • 6
    @Jeff: The quote pretty much makes it clear that he's weaker because he's lost so much of his body. You are more than half machine, you are like a painter gone blind, a composer gone deaf. And so on. Then add the quote by Lucas and the picture becomes pretty clear. Any statements by Lucas are considered G-canon, which is binding and overrides any fan-fiction (which isn't even canon in the first place), books, cartoon series, games, and so forth. And actually, now that I read over the levels of canon again, novelizations of the movies are G-canon too. I'll have to amend my answer.
    – Reid
    Jul 29, 2011 at 14:00
  • 3
    THIS should be the accepted answer, if for no other reason than the Lucas quote. One cannot go against the word of Lucas.
    – Omegacron
    Feb 18, 2015 at 19:43
  • 2
    @Omegacron: One cannot, unless that one is Disney. Disney could reveal that Jar Jar IS Darth Vader, after heavy plastic surgery. And it would be canon.
    – Jeff
    Dec 29, 2015 at 18:51

Midi-chlorian count is per-cell

According to George Lucas, "Midi-chlorians are a loose depiction of mitochondria". If this is the case, what matters is the strength of midi-chlorians within each cell, rather than the sum total in the entire body.

So losing a part of one's body or losing blood should not deplete force potential -- it is possibly encoded in some sort of force-related genetic structure. Otherwise a blood transfusion from a Jedi could theoretically give you temporary force powers.

Also note that Anakin's count was taken from a sample. So it is clearly not a whole body count (unless Qui-Gon extrapolated using his weight).

  • 3
    I disagree with this logic. Drawing an analogy to muscles and physical strength, sure if you have more efficient muscles (measured in strength per volume or mass) than another person, you will have more strength - if everything else between them is equal. If you add more muscle mass, you get stronger. No matter how efficient your muscles are, a sufficiently bigger dude with sufficiently more muscle will be stronger than you. This extends to any physical, quantifiable phenomenon you care name. A Li-ion may pack more punch than an Alkaline AA, but a big enough pile of AA's will overpower.
    – Dacio
    Sep 2, 2014 at 19:20
  • 3
    Which is one reason why the Force was better left unexplained.
    – Dacio
    Sep 2, 2014 at 19:20
  • 4
    So you're saying an amoeba with a 20,000 midichlorian count would be just as powerful as Darth Vader? On a more serious note, if the midichlorians allow you to feel the force, then they're more like a radio antenna, and chopping bits off them definitely degrades your signal. Sep 3, 2014 at 4:14
  • 1
    @Dacio Actually, that's not how muscles work. What matter is the cross-sectional area, not the total muscle mass - and the same applies to bones. That's how a two meter tall, 200 kg body builder can easily be weaker than a 160, 60 kg martial artist. Adding extra mass only helps if you add it right - and there's no universally benefical place to spend that mass, you're always doing trade offs. Do you want to last longer, or hit harder? The two require very different muscle builds. That said, the idea that we can just assume there's no loss of power is just as wrong :)
    – Luaan
    Feb 2, 2017 at 11:40

I seem to remember a novel, I think it was Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, that addressed this. It made the assertion that while Vader had lost both hands, he was still as formidable, in the force sense, as he had been before. His limitation was that he would never be able to cast Force Lightning.

It sounds like, while midi-chlorians may be an indicator of potential, they may not be the true determinant to a person's overall Force connection.


It seems to me that the midi-clorian counts aren't a total count in the entire body, but rather a total amount in a given amount of blood. We saw in Episode I that the count was determined through a blood sample, and this method seems to be consistent with current medical practices. It's very common to count the bacteria in a given sample to determine how the entire body is affected, for instance.

When a person looses an appendage, they would not loose the concentration. It is also consistent with Ryan's answer, preventing lightning or things which need the hands direct contact, but otherwise not affecting anything. The concentration, and thus the power, remains the same, with the exception of areas which need the midi-clorians in a very specific spot.


Yes, there is a link in having parts cut off and the loss of force power.

In one of the Legacy of the force novels it states that Jacen was picked to be the new Sith lord because Lomi Plo the other Sith would never be as powerful in the force because Luke had cut off her arms. (and maybe a leg)

This woulds seem to point to a direct link to midichlorians that are only in living beings.

  • 1
    Is it possible, though, that they're referring to Lomi Plo's inability to do certain Jedi-y things that require the use of arms (like Force Lightning?), and not really her raw Force power itself?
    – grautur
    Jul 28, 2011 at 23:52
  • I would say that is not likely because Lomi Plo dose use Force Lighting in the Legacy Series. Though her general style is more deception and shadowy sneak attacks.
    – Vaughn
    Jul 29, 2011 at 3:47

While all of these are very good suggestions and they have some sort of evidence as backup. One of the most important things to remember when arguing this, is the Anakin creation anomaly.

Darth Plagueis the Wise was manipulating midichlorians to revive and heal people. (essentially to live forever) He then tried to create a boy that he could use a power known as "Transfer Essence" on, to essentially restart his life, but keep all that he has gained. This boy was known as Anakin Skywalker.

Anakin never had a father, and his mother knew this. That's why in the movies she acts awkward around the Jedi, and also in the Expanded Universe she never tells them he has a father. Darth Plagueis literally imbedded hundreds of thousands of midichlorians into Anakin's mother and thus Anakin was created. In a sense it was a Christian Merry birth.

This only shows that midichlorians are in fact, the source of the force.


If you go with the idea that loosing a body part weakens your MC count, then you should also entertain the idea that the MC count in beings grows as long as they grow. Children would have a weaker account than adults, big people/races would have a larger account than small people/races and so on. That however is obviously not the cause and while I can see the MC count slightly rising during physical development, the difference would probably minimal (maybe around 500-1000) and nowhere near that idea would bring it. Imagine the Jedi test a toddler with an MC count of 10000. How high would his/her/its MC count be as an adult? Simply because of that, it would be more logical for the MC count to be measured per cell. However, they really really have to be tiny to fit 20000+ in a cell.


It almost certainly based on concentration not volume. Otherwise the bigger you are the more powerful you would likely be by default which is clearly not the case with the force (yoda for example). 1% by concentration on a 50 lb creature vs 1% on a large 250 lb person would give a 5 to 1 advantage. It is almost surely based on what percent you are not on volume. Many other considerations that indicate that as well (like the above mentioned vader being powerful even as a mostly machine).

On the otherside I believe in shadowrun for instance, you do lose some of your spiritual/magical powers (don't remember what its called) with every cybernetic implant and its a trade-off. This is a totally plausible way to do things too I think, the less of a human you are the less of a "soul" you have and the less powers you are considered to have that relate to the concept of a "soul". I could totally see it making sense for the Star Wars universe deciding that those are the rules too. However, their universe their artistic license and I'd say they went the opposite route with it, and long as the brain or maybe even any organic substance is helping to wield the entity, the force within the organic entity is not diminished (though really the ability of the brain to understand and wield the force within the organic material seems to be key, but it would be interesting to see an arc where some sort of super advanced algorithm/program could actual use even the smallest amount of force attuned living organic mater to wield the force:P)

  • 2
    Although I would like a scene were our Jedi Heros have to stuff themselves with doughnuts before a big fight with Darth Slim the Sith master to boost their weight and thus Force Power.
    – Oldcat
    Sep 2, 2014 at 20:40

Those are a kind of symbiotic protozoa or bacteria, aren't they? Thus they probably not only sit scattered around the host's body connecting with force, but just live, so multiply, feed and die out. In this scenario, one can assume that hosts differ in compatibility with them, which would both correlate with the force usage skills and their steady state concentration in blood (which then could be used as a marker).

Anyway, then the optimal population will reestablish after injury, recovering previous skill level.


But what if the midi-chlorians flourish better in beings who knowingly or unintentionally use the Force a lot and/or have a more natural talent for bonding with it? And therefore multiply more in this host?

True that midi-chlorians can help one with using/bonding with the force, but at some time it becomes second nature/easier, and the midi-chlorians find themselves in a perfect host, and like it so much that there are more of them in this body then in a body of lesser users of the force, or users who don't have as much (natural) feelings with it.

Losing limbs later on by minor flesh wounds doesn't counter the fact that the host is already practiced (mastered) and natural in using the force, and midi-chlorians will therefore still like to flourish/multiply in it.


Vader's midichlorian count in the OT would in theory be the same as that of PT Anakin ( unless, of course, he had found a way to increase it - I'm looking at you, Plagueis ).

Midichlorian count is not "total amount of midichlorians in the body". It's a cell concentration, as explained in TPM dialogue, measured by a blood test.

However, it has never been established that midichlorian count is the sole determinant of Force potential, which may also be affected by bodily injury either on a permanent ( see: Vader ) or temporary ( see: COTJ Luke ) basis.

  • 1
    What are you basing this statement on?
    – phantom42
    May 30, 2015 at 20:10
  • The Phantom Menace, as noted in the answer. Jun 6, 2015 at 18:11

Yes. It streams through their bodies and blood. If lost much blood or body parts then they are weaker. Anakin when he lost body parts in ROTS he became weaker.


Star Wars: Dark Lord, The Rise of Darth Vader, by James Luceno, page 142:

Yes, Vader was not precisely what he had bargained for. Vader's legs and arms were artificial, and he would never be able to summon lightning or leap about like the Jedi had been fond of doing.

And - this hasn't been written anywhere, but it would be safe to assume that physical exertions of the Force require hand and arm motions, even the most subtle ones (Qui-Gon's manipulation of Watto's chance cube or Jedi Mind Tricks, with that famous hand motion) to the powerful ones (Yoda lifting the X-wing on Dagobah or preventing the column from crushing Obi-Wan and Anakin). This assumption is further reinforced by Luke Skywalker pinning Darth Caedus to his command chair, without any visible hand or arm motion, and ultimately bringing the chair to floor level, crushing the strut under the chair with every warning/threat sentence of his. I recall Caedus being quite shocked to see Luke do what he did without apparent effort, and the effects of his exertions vanishing not when he turned his back to him, but when he walked calmly away from the room and disappeared around the corner.


That does not, unlike what most people seem to believe on here. If number of body parts in tact=how strong you are in the force then how is it Vader was able to go toe to toe with Luke in Jedi when he was a Jedi Master? in the EU he takes out multiple Jedi masters and knights with near ease a good number of times. And when Vader got mad and the medical tower was shaking Sidious was laughing and smiling, I don't think he would be doing that if he had, essentially, a broken toy and a near powerless apprentice. No his powers were obviously not affected that much aside from the ability to cast lightning or use certain aspects of Sith Sorcery.

also from multiple sources in the SW Wiki

"The magnitude of the midi-chlorian count served as a measure of one's potential in the Force, though there were other inheritable characteristics that could influence Force ability as well. Indeed, though Force ability often meant a high midi-chlorian count, it was not always the case. While some medical theories postulated that the midi-chlorians created the connection between more macroscopic organisms and the Force, some Jedi believed that, contrarily, the midi-chlorians were created by the Force to serve as the link between it and other life. Midi-chlorian counts did not indicate an upper limit to Force ability; the possibility existed for a Jedi to achieve a connection to the Force on an equivalent level to a Jedi with a higher count."

So no, losing body parts wouldn't make him weaker and even if it did, he could train and practice and regain that power back after a time, seeing as he's considered by Lucas "One of the most Powerful Dark Lords of the Sith".

What does affect the person and their force abilities is their inner workings, like how you can think yourself sick in reality what limited Vader, according to Darth Sidious, was his broken mind, not body, which prevented him from reaching his true potential asit did with Darth Bane. Not to mention a recent book released in 2012-13 I believe (The Last of the Jedi I think its called) said "The Emperor would be foolish to not fear Vader" implying even after being a Cyborg he is still insanely powerful and gifted.

I know its late but I would also like to add Darth Plagueis (Sidious's Master) even said that having cybernetics DOES NOT hinder your ability with the force

  • You seem to be conflating "less powerful" with "powerless", that's not the case. Regardless, Reed's G-canon sourced answer overrides anything in the EU which contradicts it. And you should really attribute that quote correctly, it's from the Mici-chlorian page, not the The Force page. Sep 2, 2014 at 20:55
  • That would be true if he didnt make that up, watch the Doc on YT (its actually really good I saw it years ago), Lucas makes no such statement in it though. its a sourceless quote tbh. and I know it was, i was using the Midi-chlorians as an example of it, because people were saying it determines how strong you are in the force but its not completely true thus the quote up there I mentioned
    – Dan
    Sep 3, 2014 at 4:02

No, because Anakin wouldn't still be a feared Sith lord when he was burned and Obi-Wan cut off his arms and legs.

  • Can you explain a little why we should believe this and not the highest up-voted answer, which has clear indication from Lucas that they are in fact related.
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 13, 2017 at 12:58

when qui gon had obi wan do a midi-chlorian count it was over 20,000 per cell key word per cell the exact number is 27,700

people need to realize that when a cell is injured it divides and is replaced so even if he lost an arm he wouldn't lose cells the human body has over 37 trillion cells so the entire number of midi-chlorians in his body would 37 trillion Times by 27,700 even if losing a limb depleted the cells in a body(it doesn't by the way) it wouldn't make much difference as he would still have 27,700 midi-chlorians Per cell on top of that the midi-chlorians only create a connection to the force once thats made the connection is Permanent unless broken via the force

  • 1
    That may be true, but in losing an arm and two legs, he's lost billions of individual cells and trillions of individual midi-chlorians.
    – Valorum
    Jul 26, 2015 at 22:23
  • Nope when a cell dies or is destroyed or removed it is eventually replaced so even if he lost an arm or all of his arms eventually they would be replaced Jul 26, 2015 at 23:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.