One of the elements of midichlorians is that it canonized the idea that one's capacity for using the Force comes from heredity and/or environment. Personally, I didn't see any issue with this, as the importance of Luke Skywalker to me always was partially due to his particularly high capability to use the Force. I'd always taken Obi-Wan and Yoda's "The Force is strong with this one," and "The Force is strong with your father, you, and your sister," to indicate that Luke and Leia had this skill due to heredity.

When discussing the issues that the prequels bring up, a common discussion point is on the heredity of Force adeptness. In the original trilogy, was skill in the Force something anyone could gain, or was it meant to be hereditary?

2 Answers 2


In the original trilogy, was skill in the Force something anyone could gain, or was it meant to be hereditary?

  1. It was not a skill anyone can gain. A lot of EU novels (pre-prequel) were about Luke searching far and wide for Force-sensitive students, meaning that they aren't so easy to find.

  2. It was implied to be heritable (which is different from hereditary) - meaning, there's a genetic impact on Force abilities (in other words, having a Force sensitive parent increases one's chances to be a Force sensitive, but doesn't 100% correlate).

    This is shown both by existence of Force-sensitive populations (Witches of Dathomir, for example), the OT's Skywalker family (as noted in the question), and having Jedi offspring frequently be Force-sensitive (e.g. in "Children of the Jedi", Corran Horn had a notable Jedi for grandfather, same for Fiona Ti, etc etc etc)

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    The heritable nature of Force sensitivity is also the reason Jedi did not typically marry ("so as not to create dynasties of those strong in the Force", from the Wookiepedia article on the Jedi Code). Jan 14, 2012 at 16:15
  • @IanPugsley - I am not sure if that statement, logical though it is, can be attributable to canon vs. reasoning by Wookiepoedia author Jan 14, 2012 at 16:18
  • It's attributed to Vergere, so unless it's a mis-attribution I assume it comes from an EU novel. Jan 14, 2012 at 16:29
  • @IanPugsley - DUH. Should have RTFM. I don't recall that statement but I paid fairly poor attention to Vong series and didn't yet bother with any post-Vong stuff. Jan 14, 2012 at 16:34

There was no "before midi-chlorians."

In the Wookieepedia, in the article on midi-chlorians, under origins it states:

Midi-chlorians were first conceived by George Lucas as early as 1977. In this time the first Expanded Universe products were being created, including the ongoing Marvel Star Wars series and Alan Dean Foster's novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye. Lucas sat down with a member of his staff, Carol Titelman, to dictate a number of guidelines for these works, explaining various concepts of his universe. Amongst them were an explanation of midi-chlorians, which Force-sensitive beings were said to have more of in their cells.[31] However, Lucas did not feel he had the time to introduce the concept of midi-chlorians.

So, in spite of what some of us (myself included) would like to believe, and what we felt sure was true up until The Phantom Menace, unfortunately, midi-chlorians were in Lucas' mind from the start.

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    According to J.W. Rinzler, Lucas did not actually describe the midichlorians in 1977: "Please note: While we were preparing the text for The Making of Star Wars, Lucas added a note to this passage about midi-chlorians, bringing his original words in line with his later thoughts and the events of the prequel trilogy. It’s interesting to see, however, that in 1977 Lucas was already talking about creatures with a more natural capacity to interact with the Force; perhaps he was already thinking of a creature such as Yoda." starwars.com/news/so-what-the-heck-are-midi-chlorians Aug 21, 2015 at 2:27

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