If you’re someone who suffers from epilepsy, you’ll want to be careful seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in theaters. The final chapter of both the Sequel Trilogy and the entire Skywalker Saga is a little under two weeks away from release, and media empire Disney is making sure that photosensitive viewers exercise caution when going to see the movie.
In partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation, Disney has announced that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker “contains several sequences with imagery and sustained flashing lights that may affect those with photosensitive epilepsy.” If you’re looking forward to seeing The Rise of Skywalker, but are unsure if it’ll be safe due to epilepsy concerns, the Foundation offered the following suggestions:
-Ask a friend to watch the movie first.
-Take your friend with you when you go see the film to alert you to which scenes contain the flashing lights so you block your eyes during those scenes.
-Teach your friend the three simple steps of seizure first aid — Stay, Safe, Side — so that they can assist if you have a seizure.
So if you’re willing to forgo seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on opening night or even opening weekend, it couldn’t hurt to ask someone who can see the movie early to clue you in on when these flashing light sequences occur. Otherwise, just be careful when going to see the movie so as to avoid a seizure, especially if you’re taking a little one to The Rise of Skywalker, as photosensitive epilepsy is more common in children and adolescents.
In a separate report from Variety, Disney also recommended “out of an abundance of caution” to theatrical venues that they provide this information about the strobe sequences both at the box office, online and other places attendees can easily see it. As the Epilepsy Foundation explained, “exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or certain visual patterns” can trigger seizures for approximately 3% of people with epilepsy.
This isn’t the first recent instance of a Disney movie coming with an epilepsy warning, as in last year’s Incredibles 2, the main villain, Screenslaver, hypnotized people through technology that used rapidly flashing lights. However, in that instance, the warnings were posted after Incredibles 2 came out, whereas with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Disney’s making sure the word is out early.
While Incredibles 2 was certainly a box office powerhouse, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is on another level entirely, so it’s wise that Disney is nipping this in the bud now rather than waiting after the fact. And it’s a good bet that after The Rise of Skywalker has played in theaters for a couple days, some people will post online about what sections of the movie where epileptics will want to shut their eyes.
Set one year after the events of The Last Jedi, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will chronicle both the end of the war between The Resistance and The First Order, and the millennia-long conflict between the Jedi and the Sith. Along with the majority of the Sequel Trilogy’s main cast reprising their respective roles, The Rise of Skywalker will also introduce people like Naomi Ackie’s Jannah, Richard E. Grant’s Allegiant General Pryde and Keri Russell’s Zorii Bliss, as well as bring back characters like Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian and Ian McDiarmid’s Palpatine.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20. Be sure to start planning what you’ll see next year with our 2020 release schedule.