Writer/director/producer, Kevin Smith, recently revealed story details from the original scrapped version of the Clerks III screenplay.
Clerks III sees the return of O’Halloran and Anderson in their roles as Hicks and Graves respectively. They are joined by Smith as Silent Bob, Jason Mewes as Jay, Rosario Dawson reprises her role from Clerks II as Becky Scott, and Trevor Fehrman returns as Elias Grover. Smith completed the original script for Clerks III in 2013 but struggled to find financing for the movie. However, in 2018, Smith suffered a near-fatal heart attack which inspired the writer to scrap the script entirely and perform a page-one rewrite.
THR caught up with Smith who revealed details of the story from the original scrapped Clerks III script. Smith explained that the original story “opened on the evening of Hurricane Sandy.” Dante, Randal, Jay, and Silent Bob were at a police station when the hurricane hits New Jersey. The group gets “out in the morning to find that the Quick Stop was destroyed by a flood.” Randal has a nervous breakdown, causing him to travel to his local movie theater and wait in line for a film called Ranger Danger. However, the movie is not set to release for another year. Randal then finds that a crowd has formed behind him and “A village sprouts up in the parking lot of the movie theater. Randal builds a lean-to version of Quick Stop, like a bodega-shanty version, and becomes the unofficial mayor of this town.” Smith explained that the original Clerks III was “a movie about dealing with grief.”
The director admitted that the story “was so far-flung from Clerks,” and that he was glad he “never made it.” Although Smith seemed that the story was not right for a Clerks sequel, the film’s premise resonated with him enough to attempt to get it made for years. Likely, the original story not only resonated with Smith’s personal experience with grief, but also his feelings regarding Hurricane Sandy’s devastation to his home state and how local communities rose up to support each other in their time of need.
In the original Clerks III script, Randal has firmly fallen into depression and recreates the life he once had at Quick Stop with his shanty, clearly recalling imagery of many people living out of makeshift houses during the reconstruction of their homes in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. However, like Randal’s original Quick Stop before it, the store will come to an end when Ranger Danger is released. Randal must effectively come to grips with his loss, learning from it, and rebuild for a better and more stable future. With the original story scrapped but not forgotten, it’ll be interesting to see how it compares to the actual film when Clerks III hits theaters September 13.