Disney cautions 'Star Wars' fans with epilepsy about new movie

Disney is warning moviegoers with photosensitive epilepsy about several sequences in its upcoming movie, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

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The Epilepsy Foundation said on Friday that Walt Disney Studios had reached out to it to help spread the word about sustained flashing lights appearing in parts of the movie, which opens in the U.S. on Dec. 20.

“We thank Disney for reaching out to us and proactively providing information to movie theatres and moviegoers in advance of the movie’s release,” the foundation said in a news release.

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Disney also sent a letter to exhibitors warning them about the flashing sequences in the movie, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The letter recommends that theaters provide a notice at box offices, online and elsewhere about the concern for those with photosensitivities.

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases, affecting 3.4 million people in the U.S., according to the foundation. The group said that one in 26 people in the U.S. will develop epilepsy at some point in their lives.

Flashing lights and certain visual patterns can trigger seizures for about 3 percent of people with epilepsy, according to the foundation.

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The studio didn’t share details about when the flashing sequences appear in “The Rise of Skywalker.” The Epilepsy Foundation recommends that anyone who is sensitive to lights consider asking a friend to watch the movie first so they can provide warnings about when scenes with flashing lights are coming up. Those with photosensitive epilepsy should also teach their friend the three steps of seizure first aid: stay, safe, side — just in case.

The foundation has more information about those steps on its website.

Disney had faced criticism over flashing lights in “Incredibles 2” last year. The Epilepsy Foundation put out a warning on its own about the movie and asked Disney Pixar to post a warning for anyone with visual sensitive epilepsy or migraine features.

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