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When Star Wars characters appeared on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Christmas special Monday night, Star Wars fans may have jumped the gun when they thought it was the first example of corporate synergy between Disney and Lucasfilm.
In the episode, host Ty Pennington and the show helped rebuild the home of the Zdroj family in Texas. Their house had been destroyed during the largest wildfire in the state’s history. The episode had special appearances by celebrities and “some special guests from Star Wars,” which were several volunteers from the 501st Legion dressed as Stormtroopers and Darth Vader.
“I just saw the opening two minutes and they had Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers helping build a new house,” one fan said in an angry letter to Deadline. “This is disgusting and it’s exactly what people were afraid of with Disney buying Star Wars. They are ruining the franchise by using it for trivial bulls**t. Please write about this. It’s outrageous and it’s totally wrong.”
The Hollywood Reporter also noted that other fans complained on Twitter and in blog posts.
They probably should have watched the entire episode, since it was filmed over a year before Disney bought Lucasfilm on Oct. 30.
Extreme Makeover is also produced by Endemol USA, the same producers behind Big Brother and Fear Factor and has nothing to do with Disney. The Zdroj just happened to be Star Wars fans and members of the 501st Legion volunteered to help and even donated parts of their collections to the family.
The show has been cancelled since 2011, but ABC continues to air leftover episodes as specials. Monday’s episode drew just 4.5 million viewers and a 1.0 18-49 rating.