Dante and Randal in Clerks II

In 1994, Kevin Smith’s filmmaking career kicked off with the indie hit Clerks, which also served as the first installment of the View Askewniverse shared universe. While that movie’s starring characters would later pop up in other movies set in that shared universe, in 2006, Smith returned to his roots with Clerks II. Now a decade and a half later, it’s been announced that Clerks 3, which Smith has been developing in one form or another since the early 2010, will soon begin filming, with the filmmaker sharing some new details for us to chew on.

Today brings word that Lionsgate has acquired the worldwide rights to Clerks 3, which is currently in preproduction in New Jersey and will begin production next month. The studio was previously in the Kevin Smith business on 2011’s Red State, having distributed that movie through video-on-demand. Smith commented on the studio’s involvement, as well as Clerks 3’s premise of Brian O’Halloran’s Dante Hicks and Jeff Anderson’s Randal Graves shooting a movie about their lives as convenience store clerks, with the following (via Deadline):

There’s a saying from the Tao that goes something like ‘To be great is to go on. To go on is to go far. To go far is to return.’ Thanks to Lionsgate, we get to return to where it all started with almost the whole cast that started it all! And for the first time since the first time we ever made a movie in 1993, we’re shooting the entire flick on location in New Jersey, as an ode to both the enduring allure of cinema and the resourcefulness and lunacy of its storytellers. Years ago, Dante and Randal made me a filmmaker – so now it’s time I return the favor.

Along with Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson reprising their respective roles, Clerks 3 will also see the return of Jason Mewes as Jay, Kevin Smith as Silent Bob and Rosario Dawson as Becky, the latter of whom was introduced in Clerks II. This marks the first View Askewniverse installment since 2019’s Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which, in addition to the title duo, also saw O’Halloran briefly reprising Dante Hicks. Rosario Dawson also appeared, though as a new character named Reggie Faulken, the wife of Shannon Elizabeth’s Justice Faulken. In a follow-up tweet, Smith also mentioned that Elias, who debuted in Clerks II as well, will appear in Clerks 3, although it’s unclear if Trevor Fehrman will reprise the role or if a new actor will take his place.

Just like what happened to Kevin Smith in 2018, Clerks 3 sees Randal Graves suffering a heart attack, and having come so close to dying, he decides to recruit his friends and coworkers to help him shoot a movie about working in a convenience store. Sounds awfully familiar, right? This meta-narrative is actually Smith’s second version of Clerks 3, with thew writer/director describing the previous version as being “a King Lear movie in a convenience store” back in 2015. However, following his heart attack, Smith decided to scrap the original story because it was filled with too much “doom and gloom.”

Clerks 3’s release date hasn’t been announced yet, but fans of the View Askewniverse can take comfort knowing Kevin Smith will be sticking around this world after the threequel comes out, as he’s also developing Twilight of the Mallrats. In the meantime, Smith enthusiasts can look forward to the first five episodes of his new animated series, Masters of the Universe: Revelation, arriving on Netflix this Friday, July 23.

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