Kevin Smith begins writing 'Clerks III'

LOS ANGELES --- Dante Hicks and Randal Graves' last theatrical adventure has begun. Kevin Smith started writing "Clerks III" at 4:20 a.m. Friday morning and presented photographic evidence to prove it.

"20 years ago today, we started shooting 'CLERKS'," Smith wrote on Facebook, with a picture of the screenplay's title page. "20 years later, with no plan or provocation, I jumped out of bed at 4:20 this morning and started writing 'CLERKS III.'"

He calls the writing phase "the beginning of the end," for obvious reasons, as it will conclude the trilogy that began his career in 1994. However, Smith has previously announced that the "Clerks" sequel will be his "last cinematic effort as writer/director."

And if really it is, the 42-year-old filmmaker is planning on making it his best yet.

"It's been like hanging out with old friends. And after 2 hours of tapping the keys and giggling, I have come to a conclusion," Smith continued. "'CLERKS III' will be the best film I'll ever make."

The first low-budget installment of the comedy franchise stars Brian O'Halloran (Dante) and Jeff Anderson (Randal) as two New Jersey-based convenience store clerks who spend their day discussing a variety of topics including sex, movies and the fact that one of them isn't even supposed to be there.

While "Clerks" was shot in black and white, "Clerks II" placed the titular characters into the colorful world of fast food after the Quick Stop burned to the ground. By the end of the film, Dante had met the woman of his dreams, in the form of Rosario Dawson, and partnered with Randal to reopen the Quick Stop, eventually returning to the comfort of their black-and-white world.

Smith hasn't yet elaborated on the plot of the third "Clerks" film, but did make it very clear that the production would not go forward without Anderson reprising his role as Randal. TheWrap's call to the actor's rep was not immediately returned, so it's unclear whether or not he has agreed to participate.

Smith, who is one of the most active social media users in Hollywood, was unusually silent in the Twitterverse on Friday, which could be a sign that he's having a productive day.