Clerks III Trailer Breakdown: They're Getting Too Old For This Shift

The boys (and Becky) are back, baby. We've got another round of crude humor, big heart, and tasteless jokes at the Quick Stop. 

Jay (Jason Mewes), Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) are all coming back to the big screen for "Clerks III," which brings director Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse full circle to where it all began: a convenience store in Leonardo, New Jersey. It's been 28 years since "Clerks" debuted, offering a glimpse into the lives of two clerks whose world revolved around hockey, movies, and surviving the day-to-day nonsense of running the store. Since then, Dante and Randal have been through quite a bit, and the resident drug-dealing loiterers Jay and Silent Bob have been through even more, but now they're all older, theoretically wiser, and ready to make us laugh all over again. 

The trailer for "Clerks III" is finally here, so let's break down every moment and enjoy these tasty treats courtesy of Mr. Smith. 


The opening shot takes us back to the RST Video shop that was next to the Quick Stop, but it's now apparently become RST THC. Recreational cannabis use was legalized in New Jersey, which means maybe Jay and Silent Bob no longer have to peddle their wares on the sidewalk. Could the boys have finally gone legit and opened a dispensary? Just imagine walking into a dispensary and getting a lecture on Morris Day and the Time from a guy that looks like a surfer from 1992. That sounds magical to me. There are a few fun little Easter eggs here, too, like the Nails Vape Pen sign, referencing Nails cigarettes in "Clerks," and an ad for Chewlie's gum, which notoriously sent an anti-smoking agent to the Quick Stop in "Clerks" to convince people to buy more gum. 

Some things have changed, but...

The signage outside of RST might have changed, but the clerks are apparently still playing hockey games on the roof during business hours. Just like in "Clerks," there's even a line of customers waiting to get into the store and buy cigarettes or groceries, but the guys are too busy slapping the puck around to notice. They all have matching jerseys with the Quick Stop logo on them, so maybe they're just practicing and have actually joined a local street hockey league or something. That or they just really, really love their rooftop games. Jay comments, "That's how we did it in the 90s, son!" which is perfect, because the entire opening feels like such a throwback. 

Randal's failing health

Randal seems to be having some trouble breathing, and when he comments on it to Elias (Trevor Ferhman), who now works at the Quick Stop with them after most likely being fired by Mooby's following the events of "Clerks II," Elias offers to do "mouth stuff." That's a pretty massive change from a guy who used to believe he couldn't kiss his girlfriend because of the mouth troll "Listerfiend," so it will be interesting to see who Elias has become with Randal and Dante as friends and role models. Randal collapses and Dante ends up running out of the back room, calling 911. 

Not dead yet!

After Randal's scare, we see Elias and a new friend putting up a sign outside of the Quick Stop reminiscent of the one Dante put up when kids jammed gum in the locks and he couldn't get the gates open. Instead of "I assure you we're open," the sign reads "I assure you, he's alive!" That's a pretty good way to let everyone know Randal's okay, and it's certainly on brand. 

A life worth living

Smith took some of "Clerks III" from his own life, and Randal's heart attack mirrors the "widowmaker" heart attack Smith suffered onstage in 2018. Dante is thrilled that his best friend is still kicking, but Randal's realized that he wants to have something to live for, a life worth waking up to. He complains about the repetition in their lives and watching the same old movies, and Dante points out that he always thought Randal would have made a great movie. 

A lightbulb moment

Randal loves the idea of making his own movie, so much so that he leaps out of his hospital bed and yanks off some of the monitoring equipment he's attached to. The heart rate monitor goes wild and he clutches at his chest before realizing that he's perfectly fine, just no longer "plugged in." 

'How meta'

Elias asks Dante what Randal's movie is going to be about, and Dante says, "It's about him, working here." Elias, dressed in a shirt with a demon that says "Forked Tongue" and accompanied by a friend in an upside-down cross t-shirt, has clearly gone full goth. For the record, I'm into it. He says that Randal making the movie about himself and working as a clerk is "meta," but it's also meta because Smith made the first "Clerks" about working as a clerk while he was also working at the Quick Stop. In a way, it's meta about being meta. 

Looking forward, looking back

"Everything in this script is something either me or someone I know said," Randal explains, which sounds an awful lot like Smith's original take on "Clerks" back in 1994. We see Randal looking at old photos, including quite a few from the original "Clerks" and "Clerks II." This movie feels like it's going to be nostalgic for the past while looking towards a new future, which makes a lot of sense given Smith's own new lease on life. 

Casting call

The next clip is a casting call for Randal's movie, which is exciting because the casting call sequence in Smith's under-loved "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" is pure joy. There will probably be quite a few weird line deliveries and some awkward special talents people show in order to get attention, but it should all be wildly funny. Elias' hand gesture combined with those insane boots is pure perfection, also. Clearly Elias has become an artiste. 

Some famous friends

Speaking of "artistes," Smith has called in a few famous faces to appear in the fake auditions for his fictional movie-within-a-movie. Among them are Fred Armisen, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ben Affleck, the latter having appeared in numerous Smith films starting all the way back with "Mallrats" in 1995. There will probably be some more fun cameos, because Smith has worked with an incredible range of talent, and people don't seem to mind spending a day on one of his sets for some goofy fun. Armisen is the more fresh one, having only recently appeared in "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot."

The Doobie Droids

When told that Jay and Silent Bob could be in his movie, Randal gives the perfect reply, "Jay and Silent Bob are like C-3PO and R2-D2. They've been here since the first movie, which was the last time they were cool, but they've been with the franchise so long they still give 'em cameos and put them on the lunchboxes." 

Jay and Bob, for their part, don't seem to mind, strolling around the corner with what looks like branded blunt wraps or vapes and a whole lot of swagger. Jay manages to throw in a "snootchie bootchies" for good measure. 

Making a movie in a movie

There's a quick shot of Randal directing and blowing out everyone's eardrums with a bullhorn. Some of the costumes here might give us hints as to the story, because Elias and his friend look absolutely wild, but maybe they just came back from a concert and had to help shoot. Who knows? The only certain thing is that Dante's face here is golden. 

Salsa shark!!!

Randal's movie, "INConvenience," is in black and white, just like the original "Clerks," and we see Jay holding a slate before one of their scenes. Silent Bob is apparently the camera operator, and there are some tiny fun jokes hidden on both the slate and in the background, including Mooby's cereal and Canadian Cheerios, called Cheeri-EH's with a maple leaf instead of a heart on the box. It looks like Randal is recreating the "salsa shark" moment from "Clerks," where he moves a tortilla chip around in a jar of salsa while singing the "Jaws" theme. Dante is lying on the freezer behind Jay, looking positively perturbed at being there on his day off, even without his face appearing. 

Becky is back

At the end of "Clerks II," Dante proposed to Becky (Rosario Dawson), his manager at the Mooby's fast food restaurant. She found out she was pregnant after they had one wild night together on the prep station (how unsanitary) and ended up getting married. Dante seems to have gotten the life he really always wanted; he likes running the Quick Stop, he has a wife who loves him and probably brings him lasagna at work, and he has a kid somewhere that we haven't seen yet. He seems happy, and Becky looks great. "I believe in you," we hear her say, and honestly, who wouldn't want to hear Rosario Dawson say that to them?

A Mooby dance

Jay and Bob dance with some folks dressed in Mooby's uniforms with someone in a Mooby costume. It's probably a sequence from Randal's movie where he's recreating some of the chaos from "Clerks II," but with Smith, who knows? There's also a quick throwback reference to Randal's jokes about contractors on the Death Star, and he tells Dante that he doesn't want to be sued by Disney. 

That's... a talent... I guess...

Elias and his friend/significant other/whoever with the great hair are either auditioning for a role in Randal's movie or they're putting on some kind of talent show, and it involves marionette puppetry. There's a mouse and three birds, and Elias looks very into it. 

Hijinks at the hospital

There are a couple of quick shots of silliness in the hospital, including someone dressed like a witch visiting Randal, ad an order from Kevin Smith regular Justin Long in scrubs saying, "Take off your pants!" Then we have Jay running down the hallway like a madman. The whole thing is set to Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy," a huge hit from 1999, and it feels at once fresh and like old times. 

The original Clerks ending, revisited

We're briefly back in black and white and there's a man pointing a gun straight at the camera, but Dante isn't having it: "I'm not letting you kill me off in the third act! What if there's a sequel?" Randal apparently wrote a scene where Dante gets shot, mirroring the original ending of the first "Clerks," in which Dante is shot and killed by a man robbing the store. Smith was convinced to cut the ending and changed it to one in which Dante lives, which is a darn good thing, because with the original ending, there's no "Clerks III."

Tongue planted firmly in cheek

Randal's response to Dante's worries about sequels is perfection, selling the meta comedy of it all and letting us know that Smith's laughing at himself, too. Randal retorts, "A sequel? What am I, a hack?" and the camera cuts directly to Smith as Silent Bob, who closes his eyes and points in agreement at Randal. There's a lot of other weirdness going on there, including Elias dressed like Adam Ant, but it's great to know that Smith isn't taking any of this too seriously. Irreverence has always been at the heart of his humor, and it's good that he can still make fun of himself as much as everything else. There's also still going to be some silly stoner humor, because there's a tiny post-title shot of Jay and Bob with the world's biggest joint, and Jay thinks it "needs more weed." That's... honestly impressive. 

This trailer looks incredible, and "Clerks III" can't get here soon enough. "Clerks III" is set to hit theaters on September 13 and September 15 this fall as a Fathom Events screening.