What was dead, can live again. Filmmaker Kevin Smith’s Clerks III, long thought to be shelved, is back on track. One of the lead actors have decided to return to the franchise!
There’s not a lot I can say about Kevin Smith that I haven’t in my deep dive. From an everyman to a director to a celebrity, Smith’s biggest appeal is his relatability. Clerks was the film that Smith made independently, and it opened the doors for him. The film is responsible for his current career as a Podcaster, Director, Writer, and a man who has created an empire around his ability to ramble. Smith returned to his roots with the Clerks II in 2006. However, his desire to make Kevin Smith’s Clerks III remained unfulfilled.
Kevin Smith’s Clerk III: The View Askewniverse Predated The MCU
Smith is a director who created his own shared universe in the View Askewniverse long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) even existed. Smith’s directorial ventures post-Clerks have always featured his hetero-life mate Jay Mewes and himself appearing as Jay and Silent Bob respectively. Thus tying those movies together as a shared universe long before it was a trend to do so.
Jay and Silent Bob even got their feature film in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back in 2001. The reboot/sequel to which, Jay And Silent Bob Reboot open everywhere October 15, 2019.
Image via Kevin Smith’s Instagram
On top of playing Silent Bob in various other media, Smith has returned to his roots before. Making a sequel to the movie that made him, Clerks II saw him back in form. Since then Smith has touted a possible third installment, that officially died sometimes last year in 2018.
What Happened To Clerks III The First Time?
As Smith opened up during one of his many podcasts, Batman Beyond (formerly Fatman On Batman), the death of Clerks III was due to one of the lead actors not returning.
The filmmaker said as much on the Fatman on Batman podcast:
“One of the four main characters did not want to be involved. It quickly spiraled out of control in a big, bad way, and wound up not happening and probably could never happen after the stream of events that hit a wall, and sometimes that’s a wall you can’t get over…So, yeah, sadly, that gets put to the side.”
The original Clerks was about two convenience store clerks, Randal (Jeff Anderson) and Dante (Brian O’Halloran). While both returned for the sequel in 2006, reportedly, Anderson refused to be a part of Kevin Smith’s Clerks III. Smith was naturally heartbroken but respected the actor enough not to re-cast him.
To Smith’s credit, Randal makes up for most of the comedy of the Clerks franchise. While Dante is more of the straight man, Randal is the outrageous best friend always getting them into outlandish situations. Not to mention the one who has no filters and definitely speaks his mind. A Clerks film without him would’ve been a shell of what it is originally was.
Not The First Time Kevin Smith Couldn’t Return To A Franchise He Started
The death of Kevin Smith’s Clerks III is not the first time something like this has happened. After not finding much commercial success, no love from critics, Smith wanted to return to the content that he enjoyed creating. He wanted to make a sequel of on of his more critically beloved movies, Mallrats. Pre-production and casting had even begun as Smith started sharing posts on social media of his previous cast returning. Unfortunately, the Mallrats sequel found no takers on the distribution and co-production side of things, even after Smith pivoted to a series. The project remains unproduced.
We goin' back to the MALL, ya'll! Stan Lee, Jay and Silent Bob and Michael Rooker are making a number 2. Talking about…
Kevin Smith’s Clerks III Story Is Already Out There
Kevin Smith is a nice guy. Understatement. Despite his inability to make a film he truly believes in, Smith took that heartbreak and turned it into a good cause. To raise money for a theatre near and dear to him, Smith put on a live-read of his then unproduced Kevin Smith’s Clerks III script. The event raised a lot of money for the struggling First Avenue Playhouse in New Jersey, and was a huge success.
This August – in the great state of New Jersey! Come hear what might have been, when we read the unmade CLERKS III script! There are only 80 seats at a pricey $100 apiece, but all the money goes to The First Avenue Playhouse (it’s a Benefit for them)! Tix: https://t.co/yJMbZzs8c0 pic.twitter.com/fFeslWDMRf
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) July 15, 2019
While Clerks III has in a way premiered, Smith assures fans that he has a different story in mind. Having written the original draft before a dangerous heart attack, Smith feels like a new man after the incident. Admitting that he has a new outlook on life, Smith has openly spoken about giving his beloved characters (Randal and Dante) a proper ending.
Randal Is Back And Smith’s Clerks III Is A Go!
In a recent meet-up by Leeloo Multiprops, Smith and Mewes reunited with Anderson. As shared on Smiths’ Instagram post, the two reconciled their differences and have finally agreed to go forward with Clerks III.
View this post on Instagram
3 CLERKS! Thanks to the good folks at @zscentertainment and @leeloomultiprops, I got to see Randal! #JeffAnderson, @jaymewes, and I spent Saturday signing stuff and catching up, seeing so much movie merch that’s been made over the last 25 years (hit the Leloo site for sweet signed skateboards)! But even better than that? We talked about making a movie together. It’ll be a movie that concludes a saga. It’ll be a movie about how you’re never too old to completely change your life. It’ll be a movie about how a decades-spanning friendship finally confronts the future. It’ll be a movie that brings us back to the beginning – a return to the cradle of civilization in the great state of #newjersey. It’ll be a movie that stars Jeff and @briancohalloran, with me and Jay in supporting roles. And it’ll be a movie called CLERKS III! To be great is to go on. To go on is to go far. To go far is to return. And we’re all gonna return to the scene of the crime! This won’t be the old script we almost made a few years back: this is a completely new screenplay that I just started writing last night! And so far, it’s like a dream come true! After mending fences with @benaffleck earlier this year, I was hoping for a chance to do the same with Jeff – so huge thanks to Leeloo Multiprops for getting us all in the same room. But the biggest thanks ever go to Jeff, for being receptive to the idea at all. This means I’m gonna get to play with my two favorite inaction figures again: Dante & Randal! Two weeks from the debut of @jayandsilentbob Reboot (on @fathomevents screens 10/15 & 10/17, link in my bio), I’m ecstatic to announce our imminent return to Quick Stop! So I assure you: we’re open! #KevinSmith #clerks3 #jaymewes #jayandsilentbob #danteandrandal #quickstop #leeloomultiprops #indiefilm #clerks
Smith seems hopeful and optimistic about the long-delayed project and given he’s a creator who creates with passion, it’s a good sign for fans.
The Clerks movies were through Smith’s own personal experiences. Which is what make his films connect with audiences. Tusk notwithstanding. The Clerks stories are ones that he’s lived, that mean something to him. If his fervour and zeal for Clerks III is an indication of the quality of the film, then I’m pretty excited.
While there’s no official word on when Kevin Smith’s Clerks III will release, keep watching this space for updates as they happen.
Are you excited about Kevin Smith’s Clerks III? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image via MGM.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.