Mark Hamill adds Luke Skywalker’s voice to Ukrainian air-raid app
The intergalactic conflict of space opera “Star Wars” has made its way into the real-life war between Ukraine and Russia.
“Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill is the voice of a Ukrainian smartphone app that warns residents of incoming air raids.
In the widely used Air Alert app, Hamill delivers the safety warnings in character as “Star Wars” hero Luke Skywalker, speaking with urgency as sirens blare. “Attention,” he says. “Air raid alert. Proceed to the nearest shelter.”
“Don’t be careless,” Hamill continues. “Your overconfidence is your weakness.”
And once the threat of possible air attacks passes, Hamill gives a proper Jedi sendoff: “Attention. The air alert is over. May the Force be with you.”
Hamill has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine throughout the conflict. In recent months, he’s also used his Luke Skywalker persona to raise money, including signing “Star Wars” posters to raise funds for the Ukrainian government and partnering with Ukraine for a campaign to buy reconnaissance drones.
The United24 campaign has so far raised more than $300 million, enough funds to purchase 1,4000 drones, according to its website.
The webpage includes images of Hamill from the “Star Wars” films, as well as a video that has the actor telling potential donors, “In reality, things are not like the movies — there are no superheroes wearing capes, Jedi knights, time machines or magic wands. Instead there are millions of people standing up to real evil and they all need real support.”
When speaking recently about lending his voice to the air-raid application, available for Android and Apple phones, Hamill told the Associated Press that “a fairy tale about good versus evil is resonant with what’s going on in Ukraine.
“The Ukrainian people rallying to the cause and responding so heroically … It’s impossible not to be inspired by how they’ve weathered this storm,” he continued.
Although the application has received media attention in recent days, it was released shortly after Russia invaded in Ukraine in February 2022. The app with Mark Hamill’s voice was already in use during President Biden’s trip to Ukraine last month.
The app typically rings alongside air-raid sirens posted outdoors throughout Ukraine’s cities and warns of incoming Russian missiles, bombs or deadly exploding drones. On some days, alerts can ring every few hours throughout the day and evening.
Although actual harm doesn’t materialize after every alert, many air raids result in death. On Friday, Russian long-range strikes killed at least 10 civilians and wounded 20 others in several areas throughout the country, including five who died at an aid station.
Earlier last week, a Russian drone strike struck a high school and dormitories south of Kyiv, killing at least nine people.
Hamill’s voice has provided consolation to some Ukrainians who live under constant threat of deadly strikes.
Olena Yeremina, a 38-year-old business manager in Kyiv, told AP that she at first found Hamill’s “May the Force be with you” sign-off humorous, but now embraces the levity the fictional character provides.
“It’s a very cool phrase for this situation,” she said. “I wouldn’t say that I feel like a Ukrainian Jedi, but sometimes this phrase reminds me to straighten my shoulders and keep working.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.