J.J. Abrams is bringing a new series to MAX called Duster. The upcoming show promises some 1970s flair and car chases ahead. Given the successes of other shows Abrams has been involved with, expectations for Duster are understandably high.
So, what do we know about Duster? Here’s the breakdown.
Duster Series in the Works
In February 2023, HBO Max picked up Duster, the upcoming series from director J.J. Abrams and LaToya Morgan. The show is the first series from the major film and TV deal (made back in 2019) between Abrams’ Bad Robot company and Warner Bros. Discovery. By April 2020, Duster was one of the three Bad Robot projects announced to come to HBO Max.
“Duster is an amalgam of all my favorite things – high-octane storytelling with deep characters and so much heart,” said Morgan. “It’s a dream project, and I’m supremely grateful to all the folks at Warner Bros. and HBO Max for believing in this show. And I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime than J.J. to build this incredible world.”
“LaToya and I are thrilled at the chance to bring the wild, wily, and wacky world of Duster to life, especially with this exceptional cast, crew, and network,” said Abrams.
The upcoming show will have eight episodes. Abrams and Morgan wrote the first two episodes, which were directed by Steph Green. The duo also serve as the show’s executive producers with Rachel Rusch Rich of Bad Robot. Green also executive produces the first two episodes.
“We are delighted to bring this high-voltage crime caper from the brilliant minds of J.J Abrams and LaToya Morgan to the HBO Max audience,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content from HBO Max. “This show has all the elements of a great Max original, with propulsive storytelling, fantastic characters, and some truly bad-ass car chases.”
Production for the first season took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, under the working title “Sandy.” However, filming had to be suspended when the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes began.
Who Is in the Cast of Duster?
Duster stars Rachel Hilson and Josh Holloway as the show’s main leads Nina and Jim respectively. Hilson is known for her role in the NBC drama This Is Us as Beth and in the Love, Simon spinoff series Love, Victor, as Mia Brooks. The actress has also appeared in Prime Video’s adaptation of Red, White, & Royal Blue.
Holloway, who has been attached to the upcoming project since 2021, is most known for his roles in the series Colony and Lost. The actor also appeared in big-screen projects including Sabotage and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Holloway’s latest project was Yellowstone, where he portrayed Roarke. Duster would be a reunion for Holloway and Abrams, who previously worked together on Lost.
Keith David, Sydney Elisabeth, Greg Grunberg, Camille Guaty, Asivak Koostachin, Adriana Aluna Martinez, and Benjamin Charles Watson also star. Donal Logue and Corbin Bernsen are also part of the series as Sergeant Groomes and Wade Ellis respectively. David plays Ezra and Guaty plays Izzy. Other stars are Sofia Vassilieva as Jessica, Dan Tracy as Chad Grant, and Gail O’Grady as Charlotte Dean-Ellis.
In March 2023, Variety reported that Evan Jones is also set to appear in Duster in a recurring role. Jones is known for his roles in 8 Mile, Den of Thieves, The Book of Eli, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. His series credits include Brothers & Sisters, Houdini, and CSI: Cyber.
Character descriptions are still under wraps.
Aside from Abrams, Morgan, and Green, Lauren Glover and Kendall Lampkin are also on board as writers. Jamie Feldman and Katie McGrath also serve as producers. Carmen Cabana serves as the cinematographer.
What’s the Story?
Duster takes place in 1972 in the Southwest and follows the first Black female FBI agent who recruits a getaway driver to take down a growing crime syndicate. The official synopsis of the show reads: “Set in the 1970s Southwest, the life of a gutsy getaway driver for a growing crime syndicate goes from awful to wildly, stupidly, dangerously awful.”
Aside from the official synopsis, the show’s details still remain scarce. However, based on what Abrams, Morgan, and Aubrey have said about the show, Duster will take viewers on a ride. Though, it might take a while for viewers to see any trailers from the upcoming show.
What to Expect from Duster?
As said earlier, Duster is part of the 2019 $250 million deal between Abrams and HBO Max (now called Warner Bros. Discovery). Under the deal, Abrams, under his Bad Robot company, is set to produce new original content for WarnerMedia branches. The platform’s Originals, head, Sarah Aubrey, has since given an update on the series in November 2022.
“We have the TV series ‘Duster’, that’s on the runway with him and that is going to be – knock wood – up and running very soon. I’m very bullish about that, and it’s one that J.J. has been intimately involved with, and that’s a really fun process to be a part of,” said Aubrey. “People want to grab onto stories, and development comes together and doesn’t come together all the time. That’s actually a very normal part of our jobs, and more often than not, it doesn’t, honestly. So I think to draw a circle around one or two shows and make an overall judgment is a little inaccurate. I’m very excited about the work that we have at Max with J.J.”
One of the other shows that Abrams was developing for Max at the time was Batman: Caped Crusader. The Batman director Matt Reeves and Bruce Timm were attached to the project at the time. However, the project was shopped around elsewhere, marking a miss for Abrams.
Duster Release Date Speculation
There has yet to be an official release date for the first season of Duster. This is in part due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, which took place last year. Before the strikes, the original production schedule was from March 27, 2023, to August 23, 2023. Production has since resumed in late 2023 on the series in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Now that the strikes have been resolved, a late 2024 release is possible. However, Duster’s premiere in 2025 is more likely. It remains to be seen whether Duster will only be one season or if there will be more episodes in the future.