Much as the declarative statement Kevin Smith’s self-imposed retirement from filmmaking got lost within the rambling tangent of turning his hockey comedy Hit Somebody into a six-hour miniseries, the director is now also having trouble saying goodbye to Clerks—even more so than before. Speaking at a “Future of TV” panel hosted by the web show What’s Trending? over the weekend, Smith said that Clerks III—previously announced as Smith’s for-real-this-time final film, before Smith mused on turning it into an ongoing video series instead—might actually arrive first as an e-book, one released in chapter-by-chapter installments that would allow him to explore its characters in a way not already accomplished over two previous films, an animated series, and a comic.
“I get to go inside the characters’ heads, tell Year One origin stories where the first chapter is Dante and Randall meeting in kindergarten, all the stuff I can’t do in a movie,” Smith said of the stories he otherwise couldn't tell in an ordinary film, because of a system that unfairly demands audience interest. “That’s what I want to do, because I’m a stoner,” Smith adds, ever unnecessarily.
But lest one see putting Clerks into book form as unusually self-indulgent even for yet another Clerks sequel, Smith actually suggests the work would belong to everyone—a collaborative process that would incorporate his fans’ feedback in order to pander to them in a more immediate way than ever before. “I know people would go, ‘Why would you want to? You’re an artist,’” Smith says of the people who are always there to remind Smith that he’s an artist. “Well, now I’m a New Media artist, and the New Media artist involves the audience, and that’s something I’ve been doing for nearly 20 years at this point anyway,” Smith concludes of these past two decades that he’s spent being a New Media artist, when everyone was wrong to judge him according to old media paradigms.
Anyway, Smith admits that, like most of the ideas he’s had lately, a Clerks book is still in just the conceptual phase, as conceptualizing things is what New Media artists do. And, even if it does begin emerging as a book or web series, it’s entirely possible that Clerks 3 will still someday end up a feature film—something Smith acknowledges his collaborators would greatly prefer, because then they’d actually get paid—emerging in what he says would be “the ultimate expression of Clerks 3.” Indeed, it’s a concept so all-encompassing, it could take untold years of Smith getting stoned and talking about it. [via Deadline]