'Clerks III' Is Officially Happening, With Kevin Smith Turning His Convenience Store Characters Into Filmmakers

Few fanbases are as loyal as Kevin Smith fans, and now this latest news is sure to create a stir.

Lionsgate announced today that the studio has bought the rights to the latest sequel to Smith's indie classic Clerks, and the threequel is set to begin production next month. And this film looks to bring the series full circle, with the slacker characters following Smith's own lead and becoming filmmakers.

Smith, who wrote the script and is once again stepping behind the camera to direct, has ensured that all the major roles will be reprised by the familiar cast fans know and love. Jeff Anderson and Brian O'Halloran will both be returning as, respectively, Randal and Dante. Of course, Jay Mewes will be coming back for another turn as Jay, while Smith once again fills the shoes of Silent Bob. Oh, and they even managed to bring back the increasingly busy Rosario Dawson as Becky. Schedule-wise, that was far from a sure thing.

Smith also chimes in with a statement and excitedly talks up his return to the soon-to-be trilogy:

"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."

The Long Road to Clerks III

The original Clerks, of course, was filmed back in the early 1990s at the convenience store where Smith was employed at the time and was loosely based on his own experience as a New Jersey native going nowhere fast. Catapulted to an indie filmmaking career, Smith decided to revisit his debut film with a sequel over a decade later. This wasn't especially well-received, but residual goodwill over time has clearly helped pave the way for another go at it.

Smith has been attempting to get a third Clerks film off the ground for years now. In fact, we've been hearing about this since 2017 and reported an update earlier this year that Smith had turned in a new draft for the sequel. Now, it sounds like the potential trilogy-capper will continue to pull from Smith's own life. Clerks III is described as follows:

"In Clerks III, following a massive heart attack, Randal enlists fellow clerks Dante, Elias, Jay, and Silent Bob to make a movie immortalizing his life at the convenience store that started it all."

Smith survived his own heart attack on February 25, 2018, having been told that 80% of similar cases usually lead to death. Again, we previously knew that this would serve as inspiration for his potential sequel in some way, but the added wrinkle of the characters making a movie-within-a-movie that chronicles these events is interesting... and maybe a tad bit self-indulgent. In any case, this would certainly be in keeping with the self-referential and irreverent tone of the series.

Smith also added some more thoughts on his Instagram page:

"My birthday is August 2. And @lionsgate just gave me the best gift I could ever ask for: the money to make another sequel to my debut film! Dante! Randal! Jay! Silent Bob! Becky! Elias! Veronica! Emma! The characters from both Clerks and Clerks II return with me to the scene of the crime at the little store that started it all: Leonardo's legendary @quickstopgroceries! @briancohalloran, #jeffanderson, @jaymewes, @rosariodawson, @marilynghigliotti, @jenschwalbach, and #trevorfehrman are ready to remind folks that just because they serve you, doesn't mean they like you.

In the story this time, I give Randal the heart attack that almost killed me. But rather than succumb to the reality of middle age, Randal rages against the dying light by telling the story of his life in an indie film he shoots with his fellow clerks at Quick Stop! 27 years ago, I made a movie about Dante and Randal that made my dreams come true and changed my life – so now I get to return the favor!"