Mark Hamill talks fundraising for Ukraine with Zelenskyy's support

Star Wars actor is an ambassador for Ukraine's United24 initiative

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and actor Mark Hamill. AP
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“These are the drones you're looking for,” reads an appeal for donations to a Ukraine fundraising effort next to a picture of Star Wars actor Mark Hamill.

Since Hamill was tapped as an ambassador for United24's “Army of Drones” campaign earlier this autumn, a lot has happened: He had a Zoom call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 500 drones have already been sent to Ukraine and a new effort to raise funds towards 10 reconnaissance drones has been launched.

“The fact that they thought I could help — who am I to say no?” the actor, famed for his portrayal of Luke Skywalker, told The Associated Press during a Zoom call last week.

As one of the most well-known names in the galaxy, Hamill felt he had a responsibility to use his voice to help those in need.

“What do I have that is special? And that is, in this case, an ability to reach people,” he said from his house in Malibu, California, clad in a flannel shirt and petting his rescue dog Trixie.

C3PO, the droll droid of Star Wars fame, is shown with the character Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, in this undated handout photo. A four-day celebration at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute begins Monday, Oct. 11, 2004, with the second annual inductions into the school's Robot Hall of Fame. C3PO and Robby the Robot, from the 1956 cult flick "Forbidden Planet," are among the honorees. (AP Photo/Mandatory Credit: Copyright 2004 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved.)

In a late September press release announcing the partnership, Mr Zelenskyy was quoted as thanking Hamill for supporting Ukrainians since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

“For Ukrainians, this means a lot. As in Star Wars, good will triumph over evil and light will overcome darkness,” Mr Zelenskyy was quoted as telling Hamill. “With you in the team, there’s no other way around it.”

Hamill ascribed the sci-fi franchise's resonance to its symbolism.

“Essentially it was a fairy tale for young children and it enabled George [Lucas] to tell a story that was very clear cut, where the villains were the villains, the heroes were the heroes,” Hamill told the AP.

“And it was very clearly defined to teach a morality tale about perseverance and resistance towards an oppressive regime.”

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Hamill's latest effort for United24, a crowdfunding campaign launched by Mr Zelenskyy, and its “Army of Drones” initiative focuses on RQ-35 Heidrun drones, which Hamill described as sophisticated and “benign”.

“They're not lethal. They are the eyes in the sky and protect the borders and the people of Ukraine,” he said. People can also opt to “dronate” if they already have a drone in their possession.

This is not 71-year-old Hamill's first foray into current affairs.

“I have always been interested in government and politics, since before I could vote,” explains Hamill.

He is very vocal on social media when it comes to American politics and has actively campaigned for Democrats in the US.

President Joe Biden even wrote him a letter, which he read for the first time during the Zoom call: “Oh. This is the first time I’ve seen it, my wife has told me about it.”

But regardless of the accolades and the fancy stationary from the most famous house in the US, Hamill isn't striving for recognition.

“I don’t do it for this reason,” he said.

Updated: December 15, 2022, 11:17 PM
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