Something that greatly intrigues me about the Star Wars setting and the Force is the statistics of and mechanics Force sensitivity. We know a tiny number have the potential to become Jedi and the most will live their lives without ever seeing any overt evidence of its existence. However, there’s a relatively sizable number of people who are above average and below Jedi potential with consequences for all sorts of professions and statistics in large populations.
Author’s Note: In this article I am simply qualitatively applying population statistics to what we’ve been told and shown about Force sensitivity in the GFFA setting and make no judgement on whether the conclusions are thematically appropriate.
The Distribution of Force Potential
“I need a midi-chlorian count.”
“The readings are off the chart. Over 20,000. Even Master Yoda doesn’t have a midi-chlorian count that high.”
“No Jedi has.“
―Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenob
Whatever their reputation out-of-universe, the introduction of Midi-chlorians in The Phantom Menace tells us a lot about how individual Force sensitivity at the individual and population levels. From Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon’s conversation, we can deduce an individual’s ability to use the Force is directly correlated to their midi-chlorian count. We can also expect that it will follow a statistical distribution. Because it’s a straight numerical measure with a hard lower bound of zero, but no hard upper-bound it will likely resemble a right-skewed distribution:
The midi-chlorian count can never be zero, but we don’t know what the effective minimum is or where the median lies (median is preferred due to those on the far right distorting the mean). We can say most people are likely to fall very close to the median with a rapid drop to zero on the left side of the curve (because of the hard minimum). However, it is the people on the right side of the curve that are of the greatest interest.
The prequel-era Jedi Order looked for individuals with a minimum number of midi-chlorians to fill their ranks. Due to the shape of the curve, this also means a plurality of Jedi will be at or just above the minimum with a rapid decline in population as we move to the right. What this also tells us is there should be far more people who have the potential to use the Force to some extent than there are Jedi and even more who will have an affinity for it.
The Impact of Sensitivity
Why does this matter? It matters because a person strong in the Force makes use of it even when they’re not aware of it and it subtly impacts everything they do. The more sensitive you are, the more it impacts everything you do. Imperial academy instructors were specifically told to watch for students who exhibited performance well ahead of everyone else. These students would then be forcibly ‘recruited’ by the Inquisitors. Since high sensitivity manifests as performance well outside human norms we can ascertain the effects of increasing sensitivity on natural ability are exponential.
What about at lower levels though? Statements by Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo suggest the concept still holds:
Therefore, we can expect the above chart will look something like this:
This distribution has major consequences for the setting. Namely, in large populations those with the highest performance in a given profession are likely to have relatively high sensitivity, even if it falls below Jedi potential (and perform better than their real world counterparts). Also, as we move to the right on the curve, Force potential will become more important than natural talent (because its impact is exponential). In small population of randomly selected individuals, physical abilities will tend to dominate. However, as we increase the size of the population Force sensitivity becomes increasingly important.
Now we finally come to the second half of the title – Inferno Squad. The members of Inferno Squad are stated to be the best in the Imperial military. Owing to its sheer size, the Imperial military relative Force sensitivity is going to make a statistical impact in the distribution of performance even if those with the highest potential are filtered out. Therefore, while perhaps not capable of becoming Jedi, the members of Inferno Squad should each have a strong affinity for the Force.
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