‘Clerks 3’ And ‘Mallrats 2’ Cancelled, Now What?
Recently indie filmmaker Kevin Smith made headlines announcing a new film,”Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” on the horizon instead of “Clerks 3.”
This would in fact be a sequel to his earlier film “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” which was meant to be the end of the View Askew series that included “Clerks,” “Mallrats,” “Chasing Amy,” “Dogma,” and the aforementioned Jay and Silent Bob original. Minor spoiler, that film ends with God from “Dogma” literally closing the book on the View Askewniverse. Thinking ahead he left a few pages open for more films if he ever felt compelled to revisit that universe. As such, we eventually got “Clerks 2” which many viewers felt was a return to form for him.
However, after that Smith continued to try new films and stories that didn’t involve any characters of his earlier films to mixed success. Then he began teasing a “Clerks 3” to truly end this world of films, maybe even his own directing career. Despite himself and others who read the script reportedly loving it, there seemed to be problems. First, the financial issues from the last two films needed to get resolved. Surprisingly Miramax did not pay Smith or the actors the agreed amount and before they began “Clerks 3” they felt they needed to get that worked out. Falling out with the Weinsteins be damned.
In the time in between, he made some other films including “Tusk” which despite not doing well financially or critically managed to get Smith the budget he needed to film “Clerks 3.” Around this same time producer Jim Jacks passed away. He had produced Smith’s second feature “Mallrats” and the two formed a friendship. Due to the film failing at the box office they never got to do their proposed sequel to “Mallrats,” described as “Die Hard but in a mall.” After Jacks’ passing Smith made it a mission to complete this film for his old friend. As the project evolved it became a TV series and honestly for a while seemed like a bigger certainty than “Clerks 3.”
Time and again Smith would delay “Clerks 3” saying “anyone can make a (whatever film he was working on at the time) movie, but only I can make a Clerks film.” Despite it all, as much as I didn’t like “Tusk” or “Yoga Hosers,” I still held out hope. My basic way of thinking was “OK Kevin Smith, I’ll pay to go see your horror film about a man turning into a walrus (in the theaters no less) if you make “Clerks 3.” Although “Yoga Hosers” made me wonder if Smith even still had the ability to make a good version of it. A friend of mine put it very well by saying “Kevin Smith needs to either stop smoking weed or stop making movies.”
Speaking of which why am I so dedicated to the idea of “Clerks 3?” Well I’m a big fan of “Clerks” and “Clerks 2” and as a fan I’m insatiable. Maybe it has to do with growing up with the Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies that I just have it in my head that 3 is a good number of sequels to settle on. As many others have said, “Clerks 2” did wrap things up wonderfully. Although I do remember reading on one of those lists about movies with happy endings that really aren’t that happy, someone mentioned that locally owned convenient stores and (as we all know) ma and pa video stores have been hit hard by the economy.
So it’s more than likely Dante and Randall who are not exactly known for their geniuses are struggling if not already lost the QuickStop. There seems like there could be something to work with there. Plus “Clerks” reflected Kevin Smith and his worldview of his 20s while “Clerks 2” reflected him in his 30s. So I’d love to see that in a “Clerks 3” film now that he’s in the next stage of his life. He’s had quite a life and career in between. Plus all the details he would give about it were promising. Whereas the first two films were Dante’s story this last film would be Randall’s. He said it had a “Cinema Paradiso” feel to it. I still trusted Smith at this point and wanted to see it.
Well supposedly the final word has come down. One of the four main actors has dropped out. Smith hasn’t said who, but any fan can guess that it’s most likely Jeff Anderson (Randall). He’s always had issues with the film business. Heck, he only auditioned as a lark back in the day and kept trying to convince Kevin to recast him. Then, due to him not getting paid what he was promised after the release he had a falling out with Smith. That’s why Brian O’Halloran (Dante) made cameos all through the other films and Jeff didn’t until “Dogma.” And all during pre-production of “Clerks 2” he was against the idea. Once he got onto the set he changed his tune.
Still I don’t want to make this sound like a news article because this is all speculation. Kevin Smith is being very diplomatic in not naming which of the four essential cast members dropped out. It’s obviously not him or Jason Mewes (Jay) since they’re talking about a sequel now. I get the feeling if it wasn’t Jeff Anderson he probably would have said “it’s not Jeff” in a statement. All that I can say is knowing how crazy devoted some View Askew fans are, I have nothing but condolences for Mr. Anderson because he’s about to be bombarded with messages about this for probably a long time. Whether it’s truly him or not.
While that sucks, it is what it is. Maybe transition to the “Mallrats” sequel series then right? Wrong! While a good bit of Smith’s films were made with Miramax, Universal owns the rights to that film. Now Kevin Smith owns Jay and Silent Bob themselves hence why they’re in so many of his films and he can make appearances as them in tons of other projects like VH1’s “I Love the 90s” just as one example.
However, Universal owns the film “Mallrats” and apparently they went them to ask for the ability to make the series on their own. Now most studios will at SOME time allow filmmakers to take projects that began at one studio to shop around for other backers. As it turns out Universal has NEVER done this in the history of the studio and isn’t going to make an exception for something as small as “Mallrats.” That’s bad enough, but what really sucks for Smith is that since Universal has no plans for the property it means it’s just going to sit there while he, the maker of the film, can’t do anything about it. Bummer. Thus, is the reason he has decided to make “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” instead.
So what now? Well as Kevin Smith notes on his podcast “Fatman on Batman” (which is where I got a lot of this information) he has a history of hyping up projects as early as the idea phase which can change wildly. That being said, the future is not set. The actor who dropped out could change his mind. This new reboot could fall apart just as these did. Personally I wasn’t a fan of “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.” There are good individual jokes in the film and seeing all these characters of other films interact off each other is great. But man there are so many jokes that don’t work and the film meanders often. So I’m not looking forward to a sequel. I am still a Kevin Smith fan and hope he pulls himself out of this current career slump. I pray and hope “Clerks 3” can still happen. “Mallrats 2″… eh I couldn’t care less.