A major part of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens marketing campaign has been selling longtime fans on the idea that the saga's seventh episode is going to be a "return to form" for the beloved franchise. The first two teaser trailers have conjured up plenty of nostalgic emotions through music and imagery, and a reel of behind-the-scenes footage shown at San Diego Comic-Con 2015 showed off the movie's reliance on old school practical effects.
As much of a love letter to the classic trilogy this is shaping up to be, the sad reality for Star Wars fans is that the maligned prequel trilogy is still official canon, calling into question how many elements from that set of films will be carried over into the anticipated sequel trilogy. Co-writer and director J.J. Abrams has confirmed that one of the most hated aspects of the prequels will not be in his movie, though: midi-chlorians.
At the red carpet premiere for Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (which Abrams produced), the filmmaker took part in an amusing Q&A session with MTV, where he fielded a series of "yes or no" questions about Episode VII. When asked about the midi-chlorians' presence in the new movie, Abrams answered with a definitive "No."
For those unaware, midi-chlorians were introduced in The Phantom Menace, defined by Qui-Gon Jinn as microscopic life forms that exist inside the cells of living beings. They were used to explain how some individuals could be strong with the Force. Simply put, the higher your midi-chlorian count, the greater chance you had of becoming a powerful Jedi. What was once described as an energy field created by all living things was turned into something much more selective that could be measured with a blood test.
Many Star Wars fans have taken issue with the idea of midi-chlorians and how it gives the mystical Force an (unnecessary) biological component. The Force has traditionally been spiritual in nature and required one to be more aware of their surrounding in order to use its power. That Abrams is taking the concept back to its roots is an encouraging sign for those hopeful that Force Awakens will take the franchise back to its glory days.
This development really shouldn't come as a surprise, though. During the Lucasfilm SDCC 2015 panel, Abrams stated that when writing the script with Lawrence Kasdan, he treated only the classic trilogy as canon (despite the prequels being part of the series continuity). It was never really expected that Force Awakens would draw heavily from elements unique to Episodes I-III, and odds are Rian Johnson will follow Abrams' lead with his Episode VIII script too (read: stick more with original trilogy mythos than prequel trilogy material).
In the grand scheme of things, admittedly, a lack of mid-chlorians probably won't have that huge an impact alone, as far as The Force Awakens' quality goes - but it's an encouraging sign, all the same.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, 2015, followed by Star Wars: Rogue One on December 16, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX does not have an official release date yet.