How Clerks 3 Connects To Clerks: The Animated Series

(The following article contains spoilers for "Clerks III." Please proceed with caution.)

When "Clerks: The Animated Series" debuted on ABC in the year 2000, fans of Kevin Smith's 1994 breakout film had many questions. The first one may have been, "Why did ABC cancel the show before airing all six episodes in their proper order?" Actually, the first question was probably, "Why did ABC agree to do a 'Clerks' show in the first place?" But at some point after that, the fanbase likely wondered if the cartoon was considered part of the View Askewniverse canon or not. Now, 22 years after Dante and Randal's stint on prime time television, they finally have an answer: Kind of.

After the events of the show weren't referenced in the 2006 sequel "Clerks II," Smith has finally acknowledged the ongoing adventures of New Jersey's favorite clerks in his movies thanks to "Clerks III." In the third installment of his Quick Stop chronicles, the filmmaker introduces a character from the short-lived animated series in live-action. Unfortunately, it's not the adorable bear driving the car, but it's still a cool cameo nonetheless.

Oh, hey Lando!

During the July 12, 2022 edition of "Fatman Beyond," which was recorded one week after the first "Clerks III" trailer dropped, Smith revealed that co-host Marc Bernardin (who appears in the trailer) would be playing Lando from "Clerks: The Animated Series." In the show, the character appears in the episode "Leonardo Is Caught in the Grip of an Outbreak of Randal's Imagination and Patrick Swayze Either Does or Doesn't Work in the New Pet Store" after Dante and Randal read a "viewer letter" asking why there weren't any Black characters in the cast. Later in the episode, when the clerks go to him for advice, Lando suddenly gets cut off by a special word from Jay and Silent Bob.

In his live-action debut, Lando is in big trouble with his wife, Lisa, who is played by the hilarious Michelle Buteau of Netflix's "The Circle." They arrive at the Quick Stop so that their daughter, Little High School Lisa, can cover Dante and Randal's movie shoot for the Henry Hudson Regional High School newspaper. When the family meets Elias and Randal, Lisa introduces her husband by saying that he "can go straight to hell" because he "just came out of the strip club tonight spending all my $5 bills that I got at bingo."

Despite being in deep water with his wife, it's still great to see Lando again after all these years. And his introduction to the View Askewniverse proper comes just before the climax of "Clerks III" where Brian O'Halloran delivers the monologue of his career ahead of the culmination of his character's three-film story arc. Basically, Lando is the brief moment of respite before the proverbial s*** hits the fan.

Leonardo Leonardo

In addition to Lando, there is one more callback to "Clerks: The Animated Series" in Kevin Smith's latest film. At the very end of the movie, Jennifer Schwalbach's "Clerks II" character, Emma Bunting, arrives at the Quick Stop to collect the money Randal owes her due to the loan she gave Dante to finance their movie. As Randal is trying to figure out how he's going to pay her back, Elias' sidekick, Blocktrain Coltrane, comes in to share the news that their kite NFT sold out and they're rich. Elias uses part of his share to pay off Emma and she says, "Well played, clerks."

This line is the catchphrase of Leonardo Leonardo, the primary antagonist of the short-lived cartoon. The villainous billionaire voiced by Alec Baldwin constantly plotted against Dante and Randal because he wanted to replace their block of stores with some kind of tourist trap that could become New Jersey's premier tourist destination. But whenever he would get thwarted by the dimwitted duo, he would declare, "Well played, clerks." While the character didn't get to make his live-action debut alongside Lando and we likely won't see him onscreen any time soon, it's still great that his signature line lives on through Emma.

"Clerks III" is playing in theaters from now until Sunday, September 18, 2022 thanks to Fathom Events, but you can catch it on tour this fall with a Q&A featuring Smith himself in a city near you.