How George Lucas Sold The Biggest Star Wars Controversy To Fans

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

George Lucas midi-chlorians

When The Phantom Menace came out, the thing that most upset fans was how midi-chlorians were added to the lore in order to explain how The Force worked. This led to endless debates about how Star Wars had changed on a fundamental level, but prequel defenders always cite a 1977 interview where the creator of Star Wars seemingly mentions midi-chlorians. It turns out that George Lucas has been manipulating us like Emperor Palpatine, because he personally added a line to the book (The Making of Star Wars) this interview appears in, making it sound like the idea of midi-chlorians stretches back to the Original Trilogy.

The Quote

George Lucas midi-chlorians

For this bombshell about George Lucas and midi-chlorians to make much sense, we need to first look at the book in question. If you read The Making of Star Wars, there is a quote from Lucas in 1977 that mentions midi-chlorians, and this is notable because this is an excerpt from the same year that A New Hope came out.

The quote reads as follows: “The Force gives you the power to have extrasensory perception and to be able to see things and hear things, read minds and levitate things. It is said that certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans. Their brains are different; they have more midi-chlorians in their cells.”

Proof That He Always Had Mid-Chlorians In Mind?

To this day, you will find this George Lucas quote about midi-chlorians in any online debate about the prequels. Haters love to point out that Lucas decided to change a fundamental aspect of The Force in the prequels, giving us a pseudo-scientific explanation for something that was always completely mystical. Meanwhile, defenders of the prequels will point to this interview in triumph because it’s clear evidence that these microscopic lifeforms were part of Star Wars (if only in the mind of George Lucas) from the very beginning.

George Lucas Has A Creative Memory

Here’s where the fun begins: in that original 1977 interview with George Lucas, he said nothing about midi-chlorians. In the original quote, he goes right from saying “their brains are different” to the next sentence about how “The Force is a perception of the reality that exists around us.” How, then, did the weird quote about midi-chlorians end up in this interview, where it is always cited by countless nerds as proof of George Lucas’ foresight?

Simple: when author J.W. Rinzler was working on The Making of Star Wars, George Lucas personally requested the midi-chlorian bit be added to his old interview. As the author admits on the official Star Wars website, “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.” Rinzler is extending Lucas the benefit of the doubt that the Star Wars creator just wanted to set the record straight, but critics believe that Lucas may be (and it’s hardly the first time) rewriting his own personal history.

Lucas Contradicts Himself

George Lucas midi-chlorians

In fact, in the 1983 book The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, another George Lucas interview seemingly contradicts the idea that he had been thinking about midi-chlorians from the beginning. In that interview, Lucas tells Star Wars writer Lawrence Kasdan that “everybody” can use the Force rather than just Jedi and that the skill can, like “yoga” or “karate,” be mastered by anyone who puts the time in. If learning the Force was like learning karate in 1983 but required a high midi-chlorian account by 1999, the likeliest explanation is that Lucas simply changed his mind.

A Certain Point Of View

force ghost

Before anyone starts trying to shove a Yoda PEZ dispenser down my throat, I fully support that George Lucas is the original Star Wars guru and should feel free to make changes to the lore (even stupid changes like midi-chlorians) as he sees fit. However, I wish he didn’t work so hard on covering up his ever-evolving vision of Star Wars with this ongoing notion that he had everything figured out from the beginning. In reality, Lucas shares something important in common with Obi-Wan Kenobi: what he says is true–from a certain point of view.

Subscribe For

Star Wars News

Expect a confirmation email if you subscribe!