Taking aside whether connecting a mystical energy to a biological basis is a good idea or not, how is it supposed to work? I know that generally the more midichlorians, the more Force potential. Is it explained in one of the expanded universe books?

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    They're supposed to be whibbly, whobbly forcy worcy stuff. What you expect something from the prequels to make sense? Commented Jan 18, 2011 at 23:41
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    Quick, we need the Doctor! Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 0:06
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    The difference being that the original version of the force is thoroughly planted in mysticism. It's not supposed to make sense and it doesn't have to. Giving it a biological basis, as the question alludes to, raises all kinds of issues. It put the force in the physical realm, rather than purely mystical. Commented May 19, 2014 at 13:36
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    It's the fine line on which suspense of disbelief operates. Make it mystical enough, sufficiently "magical" and you can suspend disbelief and go with it. Make too physical, too scientific and it needs to make a certain sense and be explained to a certain depth. Midichlorians crossed that line for me, and I suspect a lot of other people as well. It's one of the dangers in playing with the sci-fi/fantasy boundary. Sci-fi needs to be scientific and have potentially scientific explanations backing its ideas. Fantasy doesn't. Play too close to the line and you break disbelief suspense. Commented May 23, 2014 at 14:33
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    @Malcolm The large amount of EU canon that built on the mystical definition of the force probably makes my frustration with the prequels that much worse. The EU generally avoided the Clone Wars, but still had pretty well established what the force was and how it worked as a mystical force. Lucas had, in the past, blessed the EU in this and it was considered canon. With the prequels, he threw it all out. That problem feeds many of my frustrations with the prequels. Commented May 27, 2014 at 18:37

5 Answers 5


They are magic. It is all just magic. Star Wars is fantasy. I'm not sure what you are looking for? A fantasy explanation?

Midichlorians are the explanation for the force. It doesn't really do deeper than that. I'm sorry.

If you really want to travel down this dead-end of illogical paradoxes, I will refer you to the wookieepedia

  • Ugh wow. Thanks for the link, at least. Darth Plagueis??
    – John
    Commented Jan 18, 2011 at 23:54
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    @John It gets so. Much. Worse. I've pretty much decononized everything Star Wars post Prequels. Including the New Jedi order books and everything that shows up in the EU. It's all pretty ugly. Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 0:13
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    There's certainly no need to disrespect the question, though. Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 3:43
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    I don't get it. Nothing in this Wookieepedia entry is any worse than the nonsense explanations about the Kessel Run. And while it's true that Star Wars is definitely Sci-Fi-Fantasy rather than Sci-Fi, there are plenty of in-universe explanations for even questions about pure-fantasy franchises. There's nothing wrong with the question or even the answer offered in Wookieepedia. Personally, I find the concept of midochlorians really fascinating. It makes the Force seem a lot less new-agey and more sci-fi. Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 4:36
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    @Lèsemajesté It even helps draw you into the world, once you realize that with the complete replacement of the Republic with the Empire, some technology is bound to be lost. Like the midichlorian scanners. And without them as proof, attempting to explain midichlorians to Luke would've just been confusing to him..
    – Izkata
    Commented Dec 10, 2011 at 22:10

Let's think about this for a second. Let's say we have a microorganism that happens to have a natural electromagnetic property that allows them to be influenced in a very very tiny way by electromagnetic fields.

Now let's say that a person becomes infested with a lot of these microorganisms but they just happen to be non-harmful to us...

Now every time there is a electromagnetic field (the earth, a magnet, a piece of machinery, a ball of plasma)... the microorganism moves in response thereby moving our body or even causing some kind of reaction.

This is not unreasonable, and certain on the road to describing realistically a kind of force sensitivity.

So really, as much as I prefer a Zen like explanation to the force and Jedi... this could be plausible in a theoretical sense.

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    If by "plausible in a theoretical sense" you mean "physically completely absurd, but might sound reasonable enough to convince someone who doesn't know much about electromagnetism", I agree. Otherwise, no, pretty absurd. Someone covered with iron filings is very susceptible to being influenced by magnetic fields, and yet pretty much nothing interesting or even measurable happens (aside from injury caused by inhaling the filings or getting them in the eye, etc.).
    – Rex Kerr
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 22:36
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    I respectfully disagree. All life produces bio-electromagnetic fields at the cellular level. So it's not as absurd as you claim. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioelectromagnetism
    – Adam
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 15:31
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    If you don't know much about electromagnetism or the use of membrane potential in biological systems, then you won't notice that skin is a good insulator, or that the relevant length scales for EM fields tend to measure in tens of microns (see, e.g., detection ranges for extracellular electrodes), or that all these little local changes look at best like dipoles which means their impacts decrease as distance cubed, or any of a number of other things, or that the conductivity of air is very low (so that fish, for instance, have useful electroreceptors, but we do not), etc.. Absurdity abounds.
    – Rex Kerr
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 16:29
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    @Lèsemajesté - If you drop the "electro" part, yes, magnetism can be detected at longer ranges. But you still can't do anything useful aside from use it as a compass.
    – Rex Kerr
    Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 11:55
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    @Lèsemajesté - You don't need a distributed organism unless you're going to transmit spatial information; if you're using magentism (or ultra-low frequency RF) you can't. There is no known plausible mechanism by which biological organisms could produce radiation in wavelengths that would be useful for transmission through the air that are shorter than near IR (which are already used); either the emissions are physically implausible or are swamped by ambient heat. That leaves you with electric and magnetic field modulations, which are short-range and aspatial, respectively.
    – Rex Kerr
    Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 15:30

Midichlorians are the bacteria or organisms in the body that provide the connect to the "force". These bacteria often would tell how much control over the surrounding world one has. Take for example this:

Anakin Skywalker had no father. Darth Plagueis created him using Midichlorians. This is why he was so prone to falling to both the light and dark side. The Midichlorians tipped him off balance.

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    Correction: Darth Plagueis did not Create Anakin. Anakin was created by the midi-chlorians in response to Plagueis's attempts to create life
    – The Fallen
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 0:39
  • Since midichlorians apparently exist within all living cells, I doubt that they are bacteria per se. Some sort of parasitic (bzw. symbiotic) organism in the process of becoming an organelle, perhaps? Although there is the bacterial origin theory of organelles.
    – Wolfie Inu
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 6:17

I wish I could find the reference, so feel free to edit this answer and clean it up, but midichlorians were supposed to be micro-organisms which are attracted to people who are strong in the force. They don't generate the force, they simply identify where it is strong. And as it's possible to detect the midichlorians, it's possible to use them to identify strong force potentials.

Why Qui-gon couldn't simply use his force powers to detect that the force was strong with Anakin the same way Yoda and Obi Wan did with Luke is never explained though.


Midichlorians are a type of organism that have a closer link to the most fundamental elements in the universe. All living creatures have a certain amount of these organisms in them. A being that has a larger amount of midichlorians has a closer link to the universe and so is better equipped to manipulate the universe. The ability to defy gravity and to see a certain distance into the future are typical.

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