Medichlorians.  They are the key to the Star Wars universe.  Roughly 3,000 and you can be trained as a Jedi, Sith, or in any of a number of other Force groups.  Over 20,000 and you are a chosen one.

As I have directly said and inferred on a number of occasions, the Bogan/Ashla of the Force and all of the powers derived from it are an exaggeration of martial arts developments.  But not medichlorians.  Strictly speaking, it is not an element in the blood that makes a great karateka, it is a combination of raw intelligence, athleticism, wisdom, and persistence that can come in many different formulas.  Theoretically speaking, we are all capable of becoming exceptional martial artists.

It might be argued that martial abilities run in a family, just like Medichlorians.  That might be true, but so does intelligence, athleticism, and wisdom.  And honestly, any household that has a high level martial artist is going to have some obvious and daily advantages over every other family.  They will see it, it will be explained to them from early childhood, it will be a part of their identity.

Bruce Lee might also be mentioned as a person simply destined to be exceptional, i.e. possessing great numbers of medichlorians.  After all he is considered the greatest fighter of the twentieth century and mastered styles in less time than it takes most people to learn a dance, and had died at only 33 in a field of study where a person is normally not considered a master until they are in their 50s.

But on the other hand the man was brilliant – creating his own martial arts style, writing scripts, creating the concepts behind ‘Kung Fu’ the series, and of course learning new karate styles in the time in takes most people to learn a new dance.  He was also a physical specimen; in an era when muscle definition was nothing like it is today he was always in perfect condition.  Most important was his wisdom.  As a young man he developed the idea of the modest Kung Fu master traveling in the Old West, only fighting when he needed to and healing wherever he could.  In his movies and unique to the period, his characters never initiated conflict and always resisted it.  His ‘Circle of Iron’ is perhaps the most matured martial arts movie to ever be written.

In the real world, what’s in your blood has nothing to do with your ability to learn and employ martial arts.  I suppose that’s one flaw I see with the Star Wars universe.  But I understand why it is so.  Medichlorians are a dramatic device, a piece of alien technology that focuses importance on the hero, Luke in the original trilogy but also Anakin, Nomi Sunrider, Revan and a host of other characters in the EU stories.

You see, at the core of Lucas’ story is the hero seeking his path/destiny in the Joseph Campbell tradition.  But you can hardly claim that an untrained and untested boy (the classic hero according to Campbell) is destined to save the world or the galaxy without something specific going for him.  In mythology, that something is descent from a god.  In Star Wars there are no gods, so the fatherless Anakin has the medichlorians to act as his marker for greatness.

Medichlorians a flaw in the Star Wars universe or another element of George Lucas’ brilliance?

About Cian Beirdd

I live with my kitty, and encourage his tuna and catnip addictions. I have a website as well;
This entry was posted in Comic book heroes, George Lucas, Sci Fi/Fantasy, Star Wars, The Force and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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