J.J. Abrams may have just teased Anakin's return in 'The Rise of Skywalker'

Read between the midi-chlorians.

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year: Star Wars season. With the release of The Rise of Skywalker just weeks away, and the jaw-dropping premiere of The Mandalorian leaving us itching to know more, our appetite for speculation about what’s next for the galaxy far, far away has kicked into hyperdrive. Now, a recent comment from Episode IX director J.J. Abrams may have just hinted that a long-awaited cameo might actually come to pass in the final installment of the Skywalker saga… if you look at his comments from a certain point of view, that is.

Over the last week, the U.K.’s Total Film has been trickling out interviews with the cast and crew of The Rise of Skywalker in drips and drabs. On Thursday, the magazine’s sister publication Games Radar ran an amusing piece focused on Abrams’ pow-wows with George Lucas. Abrams shares that “there were some conversations about midi-chlorians — he loves his midi-chlorians. But it was a very helpful thing.”

Abrams then goes on to dissuade any possible interpretation that midi-chlorians will figure prominently in the story of Episode IX, somewhat troublingly employing the same tone that parents use when gently reminding children to enjoy grandpa’s rambling stories about the Great Depression: “Sitting with him is a treat, just to hear him talk, because it’s fucking George Lucas talking about Star Wars. I always feel it’s a gift to hear him talk about that stuff.”

These comments have widely been circulated in the jocular vein of, “Hey, remember how much The Phantom Menace sucked? Looks like J.J. knows to steer clear of midi-chlorians, so that’s a relief.” And that’s a perfectly good interpretation of these comments. But it also makes me wonder why they having these conversations in the first place. After all, in the main saga films, there’s only one character that’s really been mentioned in the same breath as midi-chlorians — the Chosen One, loather of sand, master of the podrace, he of immaculate birth — Anakin Skywalker. He’s got more midi-chlorians than anyone ever in the Star Wars universe, well over ten times the typical rate. Anakin’s potential for using the Force far exceeded even that of Master Yoda.

In another recent interview, Oscar Isaac teased that the Jedi and Sith have been playing a “chess game” all this time, which also suggests we’ll see a throwback to themes and plotlines established all the way back in Phantom Menace. Heading into Episode IX, it seems impossible to resolve the conflict and imbalance within the Force without acknowledging Anakin’s strong and big midi-chlorians, even if the pseudo-medical term itself is nowhere to be found in the script.

Star Wars: The Rise of (Anakin) Skywalker comes to theaters December 20.

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