Clerks III’s Kevin Smith Reveals How The Original Version Of The Movie Went Down

Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson having a discussion at the Quick Stop counter in Clerks III.
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

When Clerks III hits theaters next month it will be a case of life imitating art. The story of the new Clerks will focus on Randal, one of the main characters of the previous films, having survived a heart attack, just as Kevin Smith himself did not so long ago. While Smith’s family doesn’t love him using his heart attack for artistic inspiration, the director is apparently much happier with this plan for Clerks III that where he started with the project.

Smith’s plans to make a third Clerks move pre-date his brush with death, and so the original plan for Clerks III was very different, though it did take inspiration from other real life events. Originally Clerks III was going to act as something of a direct sequel to Jay and Silent Bob Reboot as it would start from the events in that film's opening, where everybody at the Quick Stop gets arrested. Kevin Smith tells THR that while in jail, however, a real life tragedy would transpire, which would then have a major impact on one of our heroes. Smith explains…

It opened on the evening of Hurricane Sandy. Dante and Randal were locked in a jail because the original version of Clerks III was the opening of Jay and Silent Bob Reboot where the cops come in and bust Jay and Silent Bob. All of them were arrested and there’s an interrogation scene and somebody comes in and says, ‘We gotta get ‘em out and put them in cells because it’s coming.’ And [the guys] are like, ‘What’s coming?’ ‘They’re calling it Sandy.’ They were locked in a cell all night long and they get out in the morning to find that the Quick Stop was destroyed by a flood.

Randal would have still been the de facto main character of Clerks III, as the destruction of the Quick Stop would have caused him to have a nervous breakdown. Unable to deal with it all, Randal would go get in line to see a movie. The catch was that the movie he wanted to see wasn’t set to open for a year, so in a seeming nod to Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace and the people who sat in long lines for days and weeks to buy tickets, Randal would just wait.

But he would not wait alone. Apparently others would notice Randal sitting in line for the movie Ranger Danger, and decide to join him. Eventually a lot more people become part of this line of people who have decided to spend a year waiting for a movie. Smith continues… 

A village sprouts up in the parking lot of the movie theater. Randal builds a lean-to version of Quick Stop, like a bodega-shanty version, and becomes the unofficial mayor of this town. It was a movie about dealing with grief.

Smith admits that this idea from Clerks III was a far leap from the previous films, and he’s honestly quite glad that it was never made. Though a movie about grief is maybe not that far off the mark from where Smith’s thoughts currently are, as he also wanted Jay and Silent Bob Reboot to make audiences cry. In its own way it feels like Clerks III will still be a more emotional movie than we expect.

Instead of hurricanes and nervous breakdowns and the end of the Quick Stop, Clerks III will end, in its own way, where it all started, at that same Quick Stop. Randal, having survived his heart attack and come to the realization that his life has been mostly meaningless, will decide to make a movie, the same movie we know Kevin Smith’s Clerks

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.