Filmmaker Kevin Smith took to social media today to reveal the third in a series of promotional images for Clerks III, counting down to the film's official trailer release on Wednesday. That trailer will give fans their first look at many of Smith's "View Askewniverse" characters since Clerks II in 2006. In spite of having a major studio distribute the film -- something that Smith has not sought for his last few movies -- the filmmaker is still doing a roadshow tour with the picture, and will put tickets on sale for the first handful of cities when the trailer drops. A second wave of announcements will be made at Comic Con International in San Diego, which also seems like a good place to make an announcement for a broad release, where fans who can't get tickets to Smith's roadshow Q&A sessions can catch the movie anywhere for the price of a ticket.
It zooms out a second time, after the first teaser image showed a padlock with gum stuck in the keyhole, and the second showed the door to the Quick Stop, the steel shutters over the window (complete with padlock) and a sheet tied to the exterior that said "I assure you, we're open."
The latest teaser comes from behind Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) as they look at the Quick Stop, complete with customers, and the caption "They're too old for this shift."
The gum in the locks was Smith's justification for blacking out the windows in the first Clerks -- which he shot in the real convenience store after hours, because that store was where he worked his day job at the time. The store could not be closed during the day for filming, so the windows had to be shut in order to hide the fact that the "day" during which the movie happened was all happening after 10 p.m. As a visual gag, Dante used shoe polish to write "I assure you we're open" on a bedsheet, then hung it from the shutters so that the store appearing to be closed, would not deter customers.
You can see the post, complete with some new details and a brief (official?) synopsis for the film, embedded below.
The movie, which is set to be distributed by Lionsgate, is Smith's first new feature film since Jay & Silent Bob Reboot, in which Brian O'Halloran's Dante Hicks, the point-of-view character in the original Clerks and its 2006 sequel, Clerks II. That movie was the last time fans got a look at Jeff Anderson's Randal Graves, who appears to be the lead in Clerks III.
Randal, who has always been something of a wish-fulfillment character for Smith himself, is set to suffer a life-threatening heart attack in the movie, as Smith did in real life. It will spur the lifelong slacker to find the one thing he likes better than working retail and making fun of his customers: he's going to make a movie.
A movie about working retail and making fun of his customers, naturally.
There have been a few different ideas for Clerks 3 over the years, with one getting so far that there was a live script reading in 2020. Smith has suggested in the past that the holdout was Jeff Anderson, who is more reluctant to return to the world of Clerks than the rest of the cast. Randal is irreplaceable, though, and without all of the leads on board, Smith has said that it's a non-starter. This time, Smith brings back Marilyn Ghigliotti, who played Dante's girlfriend Veronica in Clerks. She is the rare View Askew lead who has not been seen in another of Smith's movies since, making her return especially significant.
The first Clerks centered on one very bad day in the life of Dante Hicks, a convenience store worker who got called into work on his day off and spent the whole shift dealing with belligerent customers, freak occurrences, a sex-obsessed ex-girlfriend, and his obnoxious best friend, Randal. Clerks II saw Dante ready to settle down and get married -- but secretly in love with someone else, and dealing with the reality that he has one day to decide where his heart lies.
Clerks 3 will be released later this year.