Twenty-five years after Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) first rolled up to the Quick Stop in Clerks, Kevin Smith has revealed a mystery that started in the opening moments of that first film, a quarter century before last week's Fathom Events release of Jay & Silent Bob Reboot. During a recent interview, ComicBook.com asked Smith about the decision to explain a plot point that, until it was explained, likely never occurred to most fans as something in need of an explanation. He said, essentially, that the inspiration occurred to him in the moment. You can read on, but be aware that there are (minor) spoilers for Jay & Silent Bob Reboot.
In the opening scene from Clerks, Dante tried the locks to the steel shudders on the windows, and discovered the padlocks to have been filled with gum, preventing them from opening. In practical terms, this is because Smith, who shot the movie on a shoestring budget while actually working at the convenience store, was shooting after hours and had to hide the fact that it was always pitch black outside from the cameras.
But now, thanks to Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, we know who it was that put the gum in the locks.
Longtime fans of the View Askewniverse movies will probably not be surprised to learn that it was Jay and Silent Bob themselves, although exactly how it was revealed was a bit of fun. At the end of Jay & Silent Bob Reboot, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Bob (Smith himself) find themselves standing outside of the Quick Stop with Jay's long-lost daughter Milly (Harley Quinn Smith). As Dante drives up to the Quick Stop and, silently and in the background, tries the lock and then gets visibly annoyed when it doesn't work, Jay turns to Harley and says, "you see that guy? For 25 years, we've been coming here every morning and putting gum in the locks."
"That was a discovery while we were on set, while we're standing out in front of the place," Smith said. "It wasn't even in the script; it was just me standing there and Brian's pulling up in the wide [shot]. And so, I was like, 'Do me a favor, and screw Jay at the line.' And Jay goes, 'Oh, because there's gum in the locks like in Clerks.' And I was like, 'Well-remembered, my friend.'
"It was something that I was like, maybe I can pop it at the tail-end of the movie, and he delivered it so well," Smith continued. "I remember showing it to somebody, and they cracked up. They were like, 'Oh, my God.' And I was like, it does solve an age old fucking mystery. And it just felt like this is the movie to say that. Number one, who knows if we ever get another chance at these, right? But it's just like...to sum up the last 25 years of filmmaking, to have that dude make the confession felt right to me. I was like, 'Of course they did.' It's shocking that it took us this long to figure out who put the gum in the locks."
In addition to Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, and a dozen or so other View Askew veterans, the film is jam-packed full of Hollywood stars including David Dastmalchian, Jason Lee, Joe Manganiello, Craig Robinson, Justin Long, Shannon Elizabeth, Fred Armisen, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris Hemsworth, Method Man, Redman, Jason Biggs, James Van Der Beek, Brian Quinn, and Tommy Chong.
Jay & Silent Bob Reboot was featured at a pair of Fathom Events special screenings around the country on Tuesday and Thursday of this week, and will now head out on a "Reboot Roadshow," in which Smith screens the movie to audiences personally, followed by a Q&A after the fact. A wider theatrical release will come later.