As we've seen in recent days, Clerks III is already on the fast track to production with Kevin Smith doing table reads with the cast ahead of the director's plans to start filming as early as next week. Just recently, it was announced that Lionsgate had picked up the long-gestating project with Smith returning to direct the sequel. It was also confirmed that all of the original cast members would be returning with production slated to start in August.

On Instagram, Kevin Smith posted an image of himself with several of the Clerks and Clerks II stars that we'll be seeing in Clerks III. The photo was taken just after everyone had read through the script aloud together for the first time, and going by the smile on Smith's face, he seems to be very happy with how it's turned out. It sounds like old school Clerks fans will be happy as well, as Smith teased the interactions that are to come between Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson as Dante and Randal.

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"We read the Clerks III script aloud today for the first time and holy f--k it was glorious! Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jay Mewes, Trevor Fehrman, Jen Schwalbach, Austin Zajur, and I are all in #newjersey with one week to go before we roll cameras, so we gathered together to table read the film we're about to make! Hearing Dante and Randal bounce off of each other once again was insanely wonderful for the guy who wrote the words they were saying. Everyone was so excellent. I write to their voices - so hearing them expertly inflect what was intended for their fictional counterparts to say was an unmitigated joy!"

Smith also took a moment to address the recent controversy he faced with his Netflix series Masters of the Universe: Revelation. The filmmaker admitted that he might otherwise be bummed about some of the negative reactions that the series has drawn from He-Man fans, he just can't be anything other than ecstatic right now after going through the Clerks III screenplay with the cast.

"I know a good portion of the Internet hates me right now for Masters of the Universe: Revelation, so I should be bummed. But it's hard to be bummed when a dream you've nursed for seven years is coming true before your eyes! Thank you, Lionsgate, for giving good friends with deep ties a new reason (and the means) to make pretend again! I've done the best work of my life with the folks in this picture - and now that I've heard the first read-through of Clerks III? I'm prepared to do more of the same! (Missing from this rehearsal but not from our hearts: Rosario Dawson and Marilyn Ghigliotti.)"

Inspired by Smith's own real-life heart attack, Clerks III will follow Randal (Jeff Anderson) and Dante (Brian O'Halloran) making a movie about their lives as Quick Stop clerks after Randal suffers a near-fatal heart attack. Smith has been hoping to make a third Clerks movie for years, but Anderson had not been interested in reprising the role of Randal until recent years.

Filming on Clerks III will start next week in early August. An official release date hasn't yet been announced by Lionsgate. This news comes to us from Kevin Smith on Instagram.