The Force is with Ukrainians as Star Wars legend Mark Hamill, the voice of Luke Skywalker, has lent his iconic vocals to an air-raid warning app used throughout the country as war rages on.
“Attention. Air raid alert,” the calm but urgent voice says. “Proceed to the nearest shelter.”
The app, Air Alert, "warns Ukrainians that Russian missiles, bombs, and deadly exploding drones may be incoming" when sirens go off, Associated Press first reported. “Don’t be careless,” Hamill’s voice cautions. “Your overconfidence is your weakness.”
When the threat is cleared, Hamill says, "The air alert is over. May the Force be with you."
"The air alert is over. May the Force be with you."Mark Hamill
Hamill, 71, has been an outspoken activist for Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, 2022. In an interview with the AP he said he's happy to help out, adding it's "impossible not to be inspired by how [the Ukrainians have] weathered this storm. 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," Hamill, who – aside from playing the iconic Jedi master from a galaxy far, far away – lives in California, said. "It motivates me to do as much as I can."
This is the Way: How necessary is Mark Hamill's voice on the app for Ukraine?
For much of the war, a Ukrainian-language setting voiced by a woman has been offered on the app. But some Ukrainians, especially those who grew up on Star Wars, are comforted by Hamill's familiar voice breaking the bad news that yet another Russian barrage is on the way.
It may be fortunate, then, that Hamill didn't reprise another of his famous roles: That of the infamous clown prince of crime, the Joker – archnemesis of Batman.
In the invasion’s first year, high-end estimates of combined total military and civilian deaths are almost 300,000 casualties. By the war's first anniversary, air-raid alarms sounded more than 19,000 times across the country. A year later, war has not letting up. There are still days and nights when the sirens and the app sound every few hours. The app has been downloaded more than 14 million times.
The Russian military said in February that since the beginning of the war, it has destroyed 7,994 armored tanks and other armored vehicles, 4,189 artillery pieces, 1,038 MLRs, 405 anti-air systems, 387 aircraft, 210 helicopters, 3,222 drones and 8,501 other military vehicles.
Michael Starr contributed to this report.