‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’: Disney Warns Movie Theaters of Epilepsy Risks

Studio says film “contains several sequences with imagery and sustained flashing lights that may affect those who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy”

Star Wars Rise of Skywalker Kylo Ren Adam Driver Palpatine
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

Disney has issued a letter to exhibitors and theaters warning of flashing lighting effects and other visuals in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” that may be sensitive for those dealing with epilepsy.

“We want to make you aware that some visuals and sustained flashing lighting effects in ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ may affect photosensitive viewers. 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,” the letter reads. “‘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 photo-sensitivities. We ask that you provide this notice as soon as possible to your patrons.”

It’s not clear which sequences in the film are meant to be sensitive to viewers.

Disney is partnering with the Epilepsy Foundation in providing best practices about preventing seizures, including having a friend watch the film first, then having that friend warn the person about upcoming scenes that may contain sensitive lighting effects.

“Teach your friend the three simple steps of seizure first aid — Stay, Safe, Side — so that they can assist if you have a seizure,” the Epilepsy Foundation said in a statement. “For about 3% of people with epilepsy, exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or certain visual patterns can trigger seizures. This condition is known as photosensitive epilepsy and it’s more common in children and adolescents.”

In June 2018, the Epilepsy Foundation issued an advisory warning to viewers who went to see the Disney/Pixar film “Incredibles 2” and urged Disney to issue its own advisory, which it later did.

Read the full statement from the Epilepsy Foundation here to get more information about preventing seizures.