This New Disney Movie Released a Warning For Those With Epilepsy

Going to the movies is a fun activity, made even better by major releases from studios like Marvel, Disney, or Lucasfilm. But what can be a typical outing for some, might be more dangerous or risky for others. Those with photosensitive epilepsy can’t view things with strobe effects or other visuals because they can cause seizures. For Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, Disney released a warning, something they haven’t done in the past. 

The cast and creators of 'The Rise of Skywalker' doing press for the upcoming film.
The cast and creators of ‘Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker,’ including director J.J. Abrams and President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

‘The Rise of Skywalker’ contains potential epilepsy-causing effects

According to The Hollywood Reporter on Dec. 6, Disney released the warning they sent to theaters ahead of The Rise of Skywalker’s Dec. 20 release. The outlet calls it “uncommon.” 

The letter to theaters and other exhibitors reads: 

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.

The studio is working with the Epilepsy Foundation

The Hollywood Reporter noted that the studio is working with the Epilepsy Foundation to create a safer environment for all moviegoers. The foundation’s statement indicated that 3% of people with epilepsy have photosensitivity. According to the World Health Organization, 50 million people have epilepsy in the world. 

“We thank Disney for reaching out to us and proactively providing information to movie theaters and moviegoers in advance of the movie’s release,” the Epilepsy Foundation wrote in their statement. Neither Disney’s nor the foundation’s statements said what the photosensitive sequences were.

Past films raised concerns as well

According to People, Incredibles 2 raised concerns from moviegoers when it used effects that that could cause seizures. The difference here is that Disney is doing it beforehand now, rather than after its release. 

‘The Rise of Skywalker’ shows Rey at her most powerful, but it took a toll on Daisy Ridley

If moviegoers with epilepsy want to see the final installment of the Skywalker saga, they’ll have to take extra caution, which Epilepsy Foundation describes in their statement. Hopefully, everyone can enjoy The Rise of Skywalker, which stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, and John Boyega. 

Ridley told Entertainment Weekly that the role of Rey took an “emotional toll” on her. “It’s a heavy story for Rey,” she said. There were days where I was literally like, ‘I can’t do this, I’m so tired, I don’t know if I can, like, reach that emotion again.”

Director J.J. Abrams said that Rey’s story is essential and that she’s powerful on purpose. He told Rolling Stone that the origin behind her character. “The idea was to tell a tale of a young woman who was innately powerful, innately moral, innately good, but also struggling with her place in the world and forced to fend for herself in every way,” he said.

The moviegoing experience will be a little safer for viewers this holiday season so you can enjoy Rey’s final battles.