Science in Fiction: Why Midichlorians in Star Wars Makes no Sense…
Don’t get me wrong, I love Star Wars. I was a little miffed with the latest movie, but I still love the series. Hell, I even love the prequels, and Lord knows some people really have a beef against the prequels.
But one thing that’s kind of bothered me for quite a while is the concept of midichlorians. From the Star Wars mythos, midichlorians live in your cells. They are the reason we can feel the Force. And a high concentration of midichlorians in your cells means you are more powerful in the Force, with higher sensitivity to it.
My Scientist Heart Cried a Little Inside
But I’m also a scientist at heart, specifically focusing on genetics. This is where my understanding of genetics and biology really causes problems for the mythos. Specifically when it comes to reproduction. You see, men only provide genetic material during reproduction. Sperm are pretty much only DNA, a membrane, and a propulsion system. The female’s egg provides everything else.
This is why mitochondrial DNA is used to track back heritage via your maternal line. It was once used to trace back an ancestral “Eve,” but has also been used as a means of tracking where your family comes from using services like Ancestry.com.
Mitochondria, like all the rest of the components inside the cell, are contributed by the mother. Biologically, that would also include midichlorians. Now, that makes sense from Episode I’s perspective. A Vergence in the Force could create something like what happened because it’s all being contributed by the mother.
But what about Luke and Leia? If midichlorians are the reason that they were strong in the Force, then how could they have inherited it from a mother who was not overly sensitive? Biologically, they couldn’t have inherited it from their father.
And if they didn’t get it from their parents, then where did they get it from? Another Vergence? Just so happening to happen in the same family? That’s a little bit too much for even me to suspend belief for.