In what will surely go down in Geek culture as the cinematic equivalent of a Beatles reunion, director Kevin Smith took to the airwaves yesterday to announce a film project that almost everyone (including ye olde jaded and cynical reporter) had long ago given up as a lost cause: Clerks 3.
The original Clerks became a filmatic and pop cultural sensation in 1994, announcing a new and striking voice in American film in the form of director Kevin Smith, one-time clerk at the New Jersey based Quick Stop convenience store. Focusing on the trials and travails of register jockey Dante Hicks (Charlie Brown stand-in Brian O’Halloran) and his friend and fellow-clerk Randal Graves (the sardonic and brilliant Jeff Anderson) throughout the course of one shift at the aforementioned Quick Stop, the original Clerks was a dark comedy that had a lot to say about comics, Star Wars and being a young twenty-something helplessly floundering in the purgatory between high school graduation and the so-called real world.
Clerks made such a huge splash that Smith used the universe the film was set in to tell a host of other stories with recurring characters and locales from the first flick such as Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. The director’s use of a shared universe allowed him to tell new and different stories while at the same time offering the ultimate in fan service by tying it all together with one strong throughway of continuity. It seemed ultimately inevitable that a genuine sequel to the original film in Smith’s View Askew world would materialize, and in 2006 Clerks 2 became a reality and reunited loveable misfit Dante with irrepressible Randal. This time the two had moved onto the world of fast food retail before ending the second entry in the series as budding businessmen who were now running Quick Stop.
A Clerks 3 announcement seemed like a no-brainer to most fans and, indeed, Kevin Smith announced just such an endeavor before having to abandon turning his saga into a trilogy when one half of the original Clerks duo, Jeff Anderson, expressed reservations about stepping into a new entry. Smith went on to direct the upcoming Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (scheduled for release on October 15) while erstwhile O’Halloran and Anderson moved on to their own projects.
And there things came to a rest and it seemed to all the world that, beyond a Clerks 3 script reading to support the nonprofit theater in New Jersey where Smith had originally auditioned his actors for the original film, the continuing adventures of Dante and Randal had gone the way of corn rows and flannel, relegated to the What Might Have Been receptacle, tightly squeezed in between discarded Squirrel Nut Zipper cassette tapes and Burt Reynolds’ treatment for the never-realized Deliverance 2.
And then a funny thing happened yesterday.
Kevin Smith announced via a post on Instagram that he was finally returning to the world of Clerks, with O’Halloran and Anderson duly falling in line for the project:
“3 CLERKS! Thanks to the good folks at @zscentertainment and @leelomultiprops, I got to see Randal! #JeffAnderson, @jaymewes, and I spent Saturday signing stuff and catching up, seeing so much movie merch that’s been made over the last 25 years (hit the Leeloo site for sweet signed skateboards)! But even better than that? We talked about making a movie together. It’ll be a movie that concludes a saga. It’ll be a movie about how you’re never too old to completely change your life. It’ll be a movie about how a decades-spanning friendship finally confronts the future. It’ll be a movie that brings us back to the beginning – a return to the cradle of civilization in the great state of #newjersey. It’ll be a move that stars Jeff and @briancohalloran, with me and Jay in supporting roles. And it’ll be a movie called CLERKS 3! To be great is to go on. To go on is to go far. To go far is to return. And we’re all gonna return to the scene of the crime! This won’t be the old script we almost made a few years back: this is a completely new screenplay that I just started writing last night! And so far, it’s like a dream come true! After mending fences with @benaffleck earlier this year, I was hoping for a chance to do the same with Jeff – so huge thanks to Leeloo Multiprops for getting us all in the same room. But the biggest thanks ever go to Jeff, for being receptive to the idea at all. This means I’m gonna get to play with my two favorite inaction figures again: Dante and Randal! Two weeks from the debut of @jayandsilentbob Reboot (on @fathomevents screens 10/15 & 10/17, link in my bio), I’m ecstatic to announce our imminent return to Quick Stop! So I assure you: We’re open!”
With the reunion of what looks to be all of the surviving members of the original Ghostbusters film and umpteen television show revivals along with the nostalgia kick instigated by such shows as Stranger Things, the news about an honest-to-Pete Clerks sequel is a welcome one to this card carrying member of Generation X. Now all that’s left to do to right the world’s wrongs is brush off that Deliverance 2 script and que up some Squirrel Nut Zippers tunes. I’ll be waiting, biding my time perusing the latest issue of Mini-Trucker Magazine while searching for a hubcap to my ’72 Pinto hatchback. Welcome back you beautiful clerks!