During a red carpet appearance at the Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation premiere, director J.J. Abrams fielded many questions about Star Wars: The Force Awakens — and dodged them like the Millennium Falcon in an asteroid field. However, Abrams let his guard down a bit during a jokey Q&A with Josh Horowitz of MTV News, and revealed one element of the Star Wars universe that will definitely not appear in Episode VII. Watch the interview above.
In a series of “yes or no” questions for Abrams, Horowitz asked if anyone in The Force Awakens ever mentions midi-chlorians — to which the director gave a definitive “no” response. As those who saw The Phantom Menace will recall, midi-chlorians are microscopic life forms that exist inside the cells of all living things. Those with an abundance of midi-chlorians, such as young Anakin Skywalker, are said to have great potential in The Force. Many fans objected to this concept, which appeared to reduce the universal, democratic nature of The Force (“an energy field created by all living things,” according to Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars) to a limited, selective power that can be determined by a blood test.
That Abrams has excluded midi-chlorians from The Force Awakens is not surprising, since the director has said he is only treating the original trilogy as canon. Still, it’s reassuring to know that nobody will be sticking a syringe into Daisy Ridley to determine if she can wield a lightsaber.
Though he gave MTV News the scoop on midi-chlorians, Abrams declined Horowitz’s requests for other Force Awakens specifics — like whether anyone will use the phrase “May the Force be with you,” and how long the finished film will be.
“The running time is always adjusting. It’s anywhere from an hour and a half to four hours. Somewhere in that area,” Abrams joked. “[The Lord of the Rings director] Peter Jackson keeps calling and saying ‘Make it four hours!’”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters on Dec. 18.