Kevin Smith has officially kicked off filming of Clerks 3 at the Quick Stop in New Jersey, and to paraphrase Dante Hicks, the cast and crew are supposed to be there today. In 1994, Smith launched his movie career with the highly successful release of the original Clerks. Starring Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson, the hit comedy was shot in the real-life convenience store where Smith worked, following the lives of two Quick Stop clerks.

At the time, Smith probably had no idea what would be in store after the movie's release. Nearly three decades later, he's coming back full circle with the third and likely final installment of the Clerks movie series. On Monday, which happened to be Kevin Smith's 51st birthday, the director posted the first image from day one of shooting, and fans ought to appreciate seeing O'Halloran and Anderson back behind the counter. You can look at the image below.

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In the caption, Smith writes, "How I Spent My 51st Birthday! Clerks III, Day 1 - with Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson and Jay Mewes and Trevor Fehrman and Austin Zajur. Thanks to that sweet Lionsgate cash, we *are* supposed to be here today!"

Also featured in the photo are Smith himself alongside Jay Mewes, as the pair will return as Silent Bob and Jay in the sequel. Trevor Fehrman, who shined in Clerks II as Mooby's employee Elias, is also pictured with his character set to return for Clerks III as well. On the right in the set photo is actor Austin Zajur, the boyfriend of Smith's daughter Harley Quinn Smith, who has appeared in movies like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and The Fallout.

Clerks III was seemingly never going to happen after Anderson stepped away from acting, uninterested in reprising the role of Randal Graves for another movie. Apparently, what it took was the right idea, as Smith convinced Anderson after pitching a new concept inspired by Kevin Smith's real-life heart attack. Clerks III will follow Randal after he survives a heart attack and collaborates with Dante to film a movie about their lives at the Quick Stop, similar to what Smith had done in reality.

Smith has also confirmed that Rosario Dawson will reprise her Clerks II role as Becky with Marilyn Ghigliotti returning as Dante's ex-girlfriend Veronica. It's likely we'll see many other characters from Smith's other movies as well, though the director will certainly try to keep some of those as a surprise. He is known for consistently using the same characters in various movie projects.

Along with Clerks in 1994 and Clerks 2 in 2006, there was also a short-lived animated series adaptation that aired in 2000. Consisting of just six episodes, the series was axed at ABC after only two episodes aired, though it found a much larger audience on DVD. Before Clerks III finally got its green light, Smith had also considered doing an animated movie that would serve as a continuation of the animated series. Last year, Smith teased bringing the cartoon series back on Hulu.

Lionsgate has yet to put a release date on the schedule for Clerks III, but given how long it's taken to get to this point, it's certainly wonderful to see that the long gestating sequel has finally started rolling cameras. The original movie is currently streaming on HBO Max if you want to give it a revisit. This news comes to us from Kevin Smith on Instagram.