Kevin Smith has been threatening to retire for a while; after grabbing attention with "Red State" last year, he announced that his next film, "Hit Somebody," would be his last film. He's since changed his mind about that project, and he has announced that "Clerks III" will instead be his final foray into feature filmmaking.
The director announced the move on Twitter today, where he says the sequel will be a go "the minute Jeff Anderson signs on." Anderson would be reprising the role of Randal Graves, who represents one half of the titular duo.
First introduced in 1994, Randal and his buddy Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) were the poster boys for 90s slacker ennui. Produced on a shoestring budget, "Clerks" catapulted Smith to the top of the independent filmmaking world.
The film also introduced the world to Smith's "View Askewniverse," a set of films all set around a set of characters in New Jersey. Jay and Silent Bob (essayed by Jason Mewes and Smith himself, respectively) are the connective tissue running through these films, which was supposed to end with 2001's "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."
However, Smith resurrected the universe in 2006 with the release of "Clerks 2," which caught up with Dante and Randal a decade later. Presumably, part three will do the same thing; while Smith hasn't revealed the specifics of his schedule, one would assume we'll be seeing the sequel no later than 2014 or so, which would set it exactly 20 years after the original film.
In the meantime, Smith is still set on getting "Hit Somebody" done, albeit as a miniseries. Originally conceived as a feature film based on Warren Zevon's song of the same name, the film became a duology at one point before Smith decided that he'd move the project to television, thus allowing him to fulfill his "final film" promise with "Clerks III."
Will it actually be his final film? History has shown that it might not be; after all, Smith couldn't resist returning to these characters once before, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him trot out Dante, Randal, Jay, and Silent Bob once every decade or so.