Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will arrive in theaters with an Epilepsy Warning for possible seizure risk due to some of the VFX that will be on display throughout the movie. While The Force Awakens didn’t have these warnings at the time of release, the version currently streaming on Disney+ also comes with this same precaution.
The Walt Disney Company is making sure theater owners worldwide are aware of the risk, and has asked exhibitors to make sure moviegoers are aware of this, especially those who have photosensitive epilepsy. The final chapter in the Skywalker saga will be arriving in theaters with this warning starting Thursday, December 19 for advanced screenings, with the movie opening wide on December 20.
Disney has sent out a letter to theater owners weeks in advance of the movie’s opening. This is being called an unusual move. The studio is recommending that theater owners take special steps in assuring ticket buyers are aware of the risk the J.J. Abrams’ movie poses. Star Wars 9 will feature scenes that contain flashing lights. The letter to theaters from Disney states the following.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we recommend that you provide at your venue box office and online, and at other appropriate places where your customers will see it, a notice containing the following information: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker contains several sequences with imagery and sustained flashing lights that may affect those who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy or have other photosensitivities.”
What exactly these scenes entail or how they fit into the story has not been discussed, with spoilers still a concern for the studio. Disney is working with the Epilepsy Foundation, who sent out their own warning about the movie, deeming it a safety issue. It is noted that nearly 3.4 million Americans have epilepsy, and three percent of those have risk of seizures that can be triggered by the flashing lights as described for The Rise of Skywalker. The Epilepsy Foundation states the following.
“We thank Disney for reaching out to us and proactively providing information to movie theatres and moviegoers in advance of the movie’s release. If you or someone you know are sensitive to lights, please consider the following as you make plans to watch the movie: 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.”
Director J.J. Abrams and his main cast were just in Brazil this weekend for CCXP, where they showed off a Star Wars Friends Featurette while discussing the long-anticipated sequel. No mention of the strobing light effects was mentioned. If you’ve seen The Force Awakens, you can get a barometer for what may be contained in this particular movie. This news comes from Deadline.