Star Wars actor Mark Hamill has lent his voice to an alert app in Ukraine warning people to take cover when Russian forces unleash aerial strikes across the country.
“Attention. Air raid alert. Proceed to the nearest shelter,” declares the American actor.
“Don’t be careless,” Hamill advises. “Your overconfidence is your weakness.”
Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the sci-fi saga, is heard on the English version of Air Alert, an app which warns users about incoming missile attacks. Combined with the wailing air raid siren which echoes through Ukrainian cities,it will also urge people to seek shelter and take cover.
When the danger is over and it’s safe, Hamill announces: “Attention, the air raid alert is over. May the Force be with you.”
The alarm notifications are also set to include catchphrases from Hamill’s Star Wars colleague Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo.
In a message on Telegram, the Ukraine fundraising platform United24, which partnered with Air Alert for the “Jedi-themed update”, said: “The five different sorts of danger will be announced by the voice of the renowned actor Luke Skywalker: missile strike, artillery fire, street combat, radiation and chemical threat.”
Hamill serves as an ambassador for United24, Ukraine’s official fundraising platform for the war effort, civil protection and reconstruction. It has raised over $300m so far, according to its website.
In an interview with Associated Press, Hamill said the war in Ukraine reminded him of the plot of the Star Wars films.
“A fairy tale about good versus evil is resonant with what’s going on in Ukraine,” he said. “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 added that lending his voice to the air raid alert app was his way of helping out – as well as raising money to help provide Ukrainian forces with surveillance drones by raffling signed Star Wars posters.
“Here I sit in the comfort of my own home when in Ukraine there are power outages and food shortages and people are really suffering,” he said. “It motivates me to do as much as I can.”
He said his voice on the app, which has been downloaded more than 14 million times, was a way of urging people to seek safety and stay strong: “It does inspire people. Everyone flashes back to being six years old again. And if the movie can help people get through hard times, so much the better.”
The app was developed , The app was developed by Ajax Systems, IT consulting company Stfalcon and the Ministry of Digital Transformations of Ukraine.
Valentine Hrytsenko, chief marketing officer of Ajax, said: “This isn’t just an app update to us, but a way to do our part on the information front and an opportunity to help the Ukrainian armed forces in keeping up the good fight.”
It’s not the first time President Volodymr Zelensky, a former comedian, has harnessed the star power of celebrities. From Angelina Jolie to Leonardo DiCaprio, and, recently, actor Orlando Bloom, the great and good of Hollywood have turned out in force to show their support and raise money for the war effort.
Bloom, a goodwill ambassador for UN children agency Unicef, met Ukraine’s President in Kyiv to discuss humanitarian aid projects focused on children.
The Lord of the Rings actor praised the “incredible stoic nature” of Ukrainians and said he was rooting for Mr Zelensky to “go win the war”.