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In 2017, five years after Kevin Smith announced that he’d be making Clerks 3, the filmmaker revealed that the threequel would not move forward due to Jeff Anderson, who played Randal Graves, not wanting to be involved. Fast-forward to now, Clerks 3 is officially back on with Anderson on board, only rather than use his original script, Smith is writing a brand-new Clerks 3 that will see Randal suffering a heart attack, something Smith went through in early 2018. Smith explained:
Randal has a heart attack, decides that he came so close to death, and his life has meant nothing, there’s nobody to memorialize him, he has no family or anything like that. And in the recovery, while under fentanyl, he comes to the conclusion at mid-life, having almost died, having worked in a movie store his whole life and watched other people’s movies, he tells Dante, I think we need to make a movie. So Dante and Randal make Clerks. That’s the story of Clerks 3.
In the first two Clerks movies, Randal definitely had a cavalier attitude about life, being perfectly content to keep working at a menial job and getting to always hang out with his best friend, Brian O’Halloran’s Dante Hicks. But much like how Kevin Smith’s heart attack resulted in the filmmaker making lifestyle changes, Randal’s heart attack will make him realize that he’s capable of more, and he'll decide to make… a movie about clerks. How very meta of Kevin Smith.
And Randal and Dante’s Clerks movie won’t just bare a loose similarity to the one Kevin Smith delivered in 1994. Smith mentioned during his interview with The Wrap that there will be a scene where the duo is writing a character based on Jason Mewes’ Jay, who, along with Smith’s Silent Bob, has hung outside of Randal and Dante’s places of employment for years. They’ll also be forced to film their Clerks in black and white, just like Smith had to do.
Kevin Smith described the new Clerks 3 as the closest thing that’s come to his own biography, because just like how he turned to the people and events of his life to craft a movie, so will Randal and Dante with their experiences. None of this could have happened without Jeff Anderson’s involvement, but just like Smith did with Ben Affleck, he and Anderson were able to mend their relationship, allowing Randal and Dante to reunite more than a decade after Clerks II.
The writer/director also reiterated that his original vision for Clerks 3 was filled with too much “doom and gloom” with its commentary on middle age and death. After the heart attack, Kevin Smith isn’t keen on tackling death as a subject matter, preferring to “do life affirming things” and why the new Clerks 3 will have a more optimistic tone.
For now, you can return to Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which sees the pot-smoking hetero-life mates traveling to Hollywood embarking on a journey awfully similar to the one they had in 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back. It’s packed with cameos, from View Askewniverse alumni like Jason Lee and Shannon Elizabeth to ‘new’ faces like Val Kilmer and Melissa Benoist.