Are droids alive? In the Star Wars galaxy, this isn't purely a philosophical question. It's connected to biological questions about midi-chlorians, said to exist in the cells of all living things and grant Force-users their power. Yoda told us that the "crude matter" of physical bodies has nothing to do with Force energy.
So are droids also "luminous beings?" Does the "crude matter" of a mechanical body have any bearing on accessing the Force? A compelling fan theory on Reddit suggests R2-D2 is Force-sensitive, and there's good reason to believe this is legit.
Except for rare instances like Solo, the canon of Star Wars rarely has anything profound to say about artificial intelligence. In Joseph Campbell's Power of Myth, Campbell basically asserts his belief that the message of Star Wars – at least in the original trilogy — was somewhat anti-technological. Luke switches off his targeting computer in order to destroy the Death Star, and Obi-Wan sadly ruminates that Anakin is "more machine now than man," because of his cybernetic Vader enhancements. Philosophically, Star Wars tends not to favor technology, unless it's beautiful like a lightsaber.
Still, there's a huge difference between Luke's targeting computer and droids like C-3PO, R2-D2, and BB-8. If we think these characters as living beings (which we clearly do), then there's no reason they can't have some kind of interaction with midi-chlorians. Here are three sensible reasons why.
3. The Jedi used a droid to teach younglings about lightsaber construction — In The Clone Wars, we learn that a droid named Huyang (voiced by David Tennant) has taught younglings how to build lightsabers for at least 1,000 years.
Huyang does nothing to indicate that he can use the Force in his three episodes — "A Test of Strength," Bound to Rescue," and "Necessary Bond" — but if we think about this for one second, he probably has some connection to the Force. The way the Jedi choose their lightsaber kyber crystals and subsequently build their sabers is all about being one with the Force. So, do we really think that after 1,000 years of training younglings to build lightsabers that Huyang never felt the Force?
2. R2-D2 seems luckier than most droids — Back before the prequels, some Star Wars fans (like me) were obsessed with the Star Wars Customizable Card Game published by Decipher Inc. Now, the R2-D2 card wasn't particularly powerful, and it certainly did not say that he was "Force-Attuned" or "Force-Sensitive."
However, in the game, when R2 was present at a scomp-link (one of those little terminals he plugs into all the time) he could effect the Force reserve of the player. Symbolically, this seemed to prove that R2 had better "luck" than most droids when it came to controlling his own destiny.
As Obi-Wan Kenobi said in A New Hope: "In my experience, there's no such thing as luck."
1. R2 could have sabotaged that red droid at the Lars Farm — R2-D2's entire journey almost didn't happen the way it should have. In A New Hope, Uncle Owen infamously purchases a red R2 unit, which is actually named R5-D4. Luckily for R2 though, R5-D4 suddenly malfunctions, and as smoke is billowing out of its dome, Luke notes, "This R2 unit has a bad motivator! Look!"
Did R5-D4 really have a bad motivator, or was it sabotage? If R2-D2 could use the Force, even just a little bit, this was the moment. R2 knew he had to find Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine, so maybe he reached out with his feelings and made that droid's motivator go bad.
Sound nuts? Well, if so, perhaps the reverse is true. In a non-canon short Star Wars comic book story (which appeared in the old Star Wars Tales anthology comic series) R5-D4's real name was "Skippy," and he 100 percent was Force-sensitive. Written by Peter David, "Skippy the Jedi Droid" posits that R5-D4 felt a disturbance in the Force when he was purchased by Owen Lars, and used the Force to sabotage himself.
Even if this story isn't canon, when you consider how many times droids save the day in all of Star Wars, it would actually be criminal if some of them weren't Force-sensitive. After all, in General, Leia Organa's final appearance in Star Wars canon, she says, "Never underestimate a droid."
See. Leia knew. Droids can use the Force.