We have all, over the past several months, felt a great resurgence in the Force.There have been ads—so, so many ads—to the tune of $66 million and rising. Carrie Fisher and her hilarious, tongue-tied bulldog have won our hearts. Harrison Ford hasn’t looked this happy-go-lucky since the second half of Working Girl. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt graced a red carpet dressed as Yoda. This is all the fault of Disney, whose insanely anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh installment in George Lucas’s space opera franchise, hits theaters Dec. 18. The series is now being steered by J.J. Abrams, and box office prognosticators think the movie could open to $300 million in North America, which would annihilate the $208.8 million record set by Jurassic World earlier this year.
While the return of Star Wars will no doubt inspire flashback feelings of childlike wonder in generations of people across the globe, it will also hold a special place in the hearts of America’s most famous couple, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. That is because back in 2008, Star Wars brought Kimye together for the first time.
“I was always attracted to him,” Kardashian said of West during a recent interview with Access Hollywood. “When I first met him, we worked on a project together and there was definitely a spark, but we were in other relationships and we kept our distance, and that was that…It was this pilot that him and Jimmy Kimmel were doing that didn’t come to fruition.”
That pilot was Alligator Boots.
Back then, West was eager to break into television. He was fresh off the release of his third album, Graduation, closing the trilogy that began with 2004’s The College Dropout. One of the pilots he shot was a Curb Your Enthusiasm-type comedy for HBO helmed by Larry Charles, a writer on Seinfeld and the director of Borat. In it, West played an exaggerated version of himself (à la Larry David) navigating awkward scenarios in L.A. The Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac was cast as his cousin. Sadly, HBO execs weren’t fans, and passed on the show. So West tried his luck with Alligator Boots.
Produced as a pilot for Comedy Central, Alligator Boots was the brainchild of West’s childhood friend and songwriter Rhymefest, who served as co-creator alongside Daniel Kellison, a former Letterman producer. The show was made by Jackhole Productions, Kellison’s production company with Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla, with Kimmel also serving as head writer on the series.
“Alligator Boots is, in one sentence, sort of a hip-hop Muppets show,” said Kellison at the time.
Inspired by Crank Yankers, a raunchy puppet parody produced by Jackhole, Alligator Boots followed the making of an R-rated puppet variety show. It was modeled after the old Muppets—Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop created the puppets, and the pilot was filmed at Charlie Chaplin Studios, home of The Jim Henson Company. A (human) celebrity would serve as guest host every week, interacting with the puppets and acting in the variety show’s sketches, fake commercials, and skits. The other half of Boots would take the audience behind the scenes of the variety show with the puppets and crew, similar to 30 Rock.
In addition to serving as a producer on the series, West was the celebrity guest host for the pilot. And he enlisted Kim Kardashian, then a little known reality star who’d just wrapped Season 1 of her reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians—and would appear on C-list factory Dancing with the Stars later that year—as his co-star. They met for the first time on the set.
According to Rhymefest, “Kanye wants to do this big sci-fi musical thing where he has on a Stormtrooper suit” on the variety show.
“And I want to have, like, Kim Kardashian play Princess Leia because Kim Kardashian’s ass is just so…just perfect,” uttered West on Alligator Boots.
So there’s West dressed as a Stormtrooper flanked by Kardashian, sporting Princess Leia’s iconic double-bun hairdo and slave bikini from Return of the Jedi. And the chemistry, according to a behind-the-scenes clip of the show (above, and here) and those on the set, was potent.
“I was there, the moment they met in the room,” Boots producer Naomi Scott told Bustle. “[West] was enamored with her from the very second he said [Kardashian’s] name.”
However, things don’t exactly go well for West on the show. After he successfully asks Kardashian out on a date, a smooth-talking puppet bear, Beary White—based on Barry White—pulls the robbery.“I have to cancel our plans,” Kardashian tells West.“What?!” he replies, crestfallen. “Why?”“You know that bear?” says Kardashian. “The one that wants to put his penis in my vagina?” Cut to Kardashian walking away with Beary White, who’s sporting a shit-eating grin on his puppet face.
In the aforementioned behind-the-scenes clip, West describes why the episode is so…Kanye. “I love puppets, and, like, I love the first Star Wars because of that organic—it made me feel like I was there.”
Elsewhere in the footage, the camera cuts to Kardashian in the dressing room scoping her Leia buns and bikini in the mirror.“I think it’s gonna go amazing,” she says of her scene with West.Well, Comedy Central passed on the Alligator Boots pilot, but Kardashian still proved to be quite the prophet. She began dating West in April 2013, and the two married the following year in a lavish ceremony at Fort di Belvedere in Florence, Italy. They recently welcomed their second child, Saint West, whose introduction to the Star Wars universe will likely be The Force Awakens.