Kevin Smith started the script for Clerks III on December 28. He finished it on January 13. The latest sequel may have been years in the making, but it only took Smith less than three weeks to write the entire first draft of the screenplay.

In a post on Instagram, Smith revealed that while the actual writing went quickly, it followed “years of daydreaming” about the project. He also confirmed that this latest version of the project is totally different from a draft he wrote six years ago and later abandoned. (Smith did incorporate some of that material into his Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which was released in 2019.) This new version, Smith says, is “a much more personal story than the previous incarnation” and is directly inspired by the near-fatal heart attack he suffered several years ago.

The script includes characters from both 1994’s Clerks and 2006’s Clerks II, including Dante, Randal, Elias, Becky, and (of course) Jay and Silent Bob. Smith also posted a snippet of the first page, which sees Dante arriving for work at the Quick Stop in the early morning hours to the sounds of My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade.”

I’m interested to see Clerks III, not because I’m desperate for another movie in the View Askewniverse, but because I’m interested to see Smith return to more personal subject matter. In fact, in a piece I wrote a couple years ago about one of Smith’s occasional “Vulgarathon”s in his hometown of Red Bank, New Jersey, I specifically wondered “what happened to the guy who wrote deeply personal stories rooted in his own life and obsessions?” That guy made movies I loved like Clerks and Chasing Amy; movies that I think still hold up pretty well 25 years later.

After that, as I wrote that day, “Smith made movies about religious zealots, amateur pornographers, music publicists, dudes who turn human beings into walruses, and Canadians. He’s directed superhero TV shows, written comic books, toured the world, and recorded hundreds of hours of podcasts ... [and] with the possible exception of Jersey Girl, Smith’s 2004 misfire about fatherhood, he hasn’t come close to touching the raw nerves he struck with Clerks and Chasing Amy. He’s still Holden cranking out Bluntman and Chronics decades later.” So if he really has something personal to say with Clerks III, that’s great news.

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