Why Star Wars is the blind community’s least favourite film

10 June 2022

Star Wars is often described as the blind community’s least favourite film.

For blind Aussie cricketer Mick Zannis, Star Wars left a bad taste in his mouth.  Putting it bluntly, it was two hours of sound effects and space politics.

“It was just too visual for me,” Mick admits.

“There was no point having someone sitting next to me and having to describe it constantly. That takes away from my experience.”

Now steaming service Disney Plus has included a new audio description track to capture the hearts of the blind and low vision community.

The opening crawl screen of Star Wars Episode IV.

Photo: The opening crawl screen of the first Star Wars movie. 

The track is specially created to not detract from the action, but give a great overview of what’s happening on the screen with skilfully timed audio description.

Even the famous floating introduction text of “in a galaxy far, far away…” makes for riveting listening in the audio description track.

“I was very pleased because I could start following the plot of the movie and get into it,” Mick said.

“It's done with a lot of expertise, so it will say things like a ray is cutting into R2-D2. and he falls to the floor, then all of a sudden you hear concrete clunk.”

Listen to the full Studio 1 episode in the player below:

The latest Star Wars affiliated content like The Mandalorian have also been highly praised for their unique take on audio description.

Vivid language, descriptive but accurate vocabulary for the universe, and nothing that leads to spoilers in the plot.

It’s a tight balancing act, according to Vision Australia’s audio description manager Michael Ward.

“You have to be descriptive without revealing too much, you have to get a lot in between pauses in the script, and convey emotion and gravitas, sometimes through a robotic voice,” he said.

“It’s a tough ask.”

What films struggled without AD? Any you could recommend?

Let the team know at Studio 1. Email [email protected]