Kevin Smith Compares Clerks 3 To Top Gun: Maverick, And His Reasons Make Sense

Jason Mewes in Clerks 3
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Kevin Smith returns to his ViewAskew universe this week by also returning to the location that started it all: the New Jersey convenience store that serves as the setting for the Clerks franchise. Clerks III catches back up with Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) as they cope with the latter suffering a devastating heart attack. So much of it is modeled around Smith’s personal experience with the widowmaker that almost claimed his life. But during a recent appearance on CinemaBlend’s official ReelBlend podcast, Smith also compared Clerks III to the smash hit Top Gun: Maverick, and his reasoning makes a lot of sense.

Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick remains the story of the movie year. Tom Cruise revived a long-dormant franchise but breathed new life into the formula by inviting fresh faces in a handsome cast, and allowing technology to amplify the action set pieces that are integral to a Top Gun movie. Basically, the team behind Top Gun: Maverick knew which buttons to push to make emotional connections with its audience, and Kevin Smith thinks that he has the same grip on Clerks III. As he joked to ReelBend:

We’re certainly not gonna do Maverick business. But I do feel like we're tapping into the same thing that made that successful. I don't mean Tom Cruise, obviously. He's the number one component. But there was a nostalgia, sentimentality factor at work with it that benefited from that move, that pushed it over the edge. It didn't just play like a normal Tom Cruise blockbuster. People kept going back, and there's a reason for that. It made them fucking feel something. If you can make them feel something? … In the case of Top Gun: Maverick, they were going for a Top Gun sequel, and in the process, they got something a little extra. Now they'll follow you to the ends of the Earth. And so, same thing with us. I've been warning people for months. I'm like, ‘It's a funny movie, but bring your tissues.’ And people are like,’Why? Because you're gonna jerk off?’ I'm like, ‘Yes. And then you will cry into the same tissue. It’s gonna be very awkward.’ But yes, it's an emotional affair.

Kevin Smith is going for the heart strings in Clerks III. Which makes sense, given that his recent heart attack prompted him to finally buckle down and make this sequel, so he could bring the Clerks saga to a close. Saga? OK, that’s generous, but the commitment that Smith’s fans have to these storylines and this universe is complete and total, and they will – as Smith comments – follow him to the ends of the Earth until he’s finished telling these stories. 

Smith isn’t finished. He’s about to move on to a sequel to his bizarre movie Tusk, and he told the ReelBlend guys that he’d even like Johnny Depp to return for the sequel. Here, listen to our complete conversation with Kevin Smith. He’s always a fantastic guest!

And in the meantime, Clerks III is playing in theaters now as part of a week-long Fathom event. After that, Smith will take the show on the road, and might be coming to a city near you, so check him out if he’s anywhere near you.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.