Kevin Smith is writing a new verison of Clerks 3, and hopes that he can convince his old friend and franchise star Jeff Anderson to return to the role of Randal Graves. While the last version of the movie came close to getting made, Anderson -- who has often been reluctant to return to the role, as compared to co-star Brian O'Halloran who has appearedin almost all of Smith's films -- declined to participate. Smith has always maintained that without both O'Halloran and Anderson, there is no Clerks 3. Smith did not give a timetable for Clerks 3, but said that his recent reconciliation with Ben Affleck gave him hope that he can smooth things out with Anderson.
Anderson and Smith famously had a falling out after the original Clerks, which is likely part of why Anderson did not appear in another of Smith's films for several years. In Clerks II, Anderson and O'Halloran reprised their roles from the 1994 original, leading fans to assume that their disagreements were behind them, but that may not be the case, as Smith referred during his convention panel to trying to make things right with Anderson. He also used the actor's name directly when discussing the idea, which is something Smith has resisted doing in the past. Even in the same panel, earlier in the evening he had said simply that "one of our number" was not on board for the threequel the first time around. That said, he is hoping that the rewritten version might lure Anderson back. Smith said that after Jay & Silent Bob Reboot, he feels like the time is right to explore the View Askewniverse characters again.
"Jay and Bob gave us so much that this movie is kind of like us giving something back to Jay and Silent Bob," Smith said. "Where they end up in this movie is a place where they deserve to be because they gave us so much."
He said that he feels the same way about Dante and Randal, who got a great moment at the end of Clerks II, when they realized that they are in command of their own future.
"When I wrote Clerks III, I wrote it during a weirder, darker point in my life, and it's kind of like the King Lear of our movies," he said, adding that the movie is about death. "I love it, it's one of my favorite scripts, but it's dark. It's bleak, and it's not what Dante and Randal deserve. We're never going to make that verison of Clerks III, but I'm going to write a different Clerks III and we're going to make that f--king film, I promise. And in a world where we got to bring Ben back, I'll be able to bring Jeff back."
"They gave me this much, I owe them one last thing," Smith said.