Fans Are Roasting Jason Momoa’s ‘Dune’ Character

Dune is a Very Serious Movie—an auteurist masterpiece about power, violence, and fate, all grounded against the backdrop of intergalactic politics. But now that director Denis Villeneuve’s long-awaited science fiction epic has hit theaters and HBO Max, viewers are asking questions about elements of the story that defy belief. If you’re thinking we mean carnivorous worms or sand drugs that fold space and time, think again. Dune fans can swallow the story’s imaginative flourishes. What they can’t get past is Duncan Idaho.

Duncan Idaho figures into Frank Herbert’s Dune series as a fearsome sword-master and devoted right-hand man to House Atreides. In the millennia-spanning timeline of the plot, everyone dies or sooner or later, but not Duncan Idaho; readers loved the character so much that Herbert kept cloning and resurrecting him in subsequent sequels. In Villeneuve’s new film, the role is played by Jason Momoa, who turns in a charismatic performance as a swaggering warrior with out-of-this-world combat skills. The character has registered with fans across social media, but not for the reasons you’d expect. In a fictional world populated by “Letos” and “Chanis” and “Liets,” the badass fighter is named… Duncan Idaho. It’s a goofy folk hero name in a future shock world, and fans are having fun with it. “Was Bob Nebraska already taken?” joked one viewer on Twitter, while another compared the name to Indiana Jones.

Read on for a survey of fans’ best reactions to Duncan Idaho—and don’t even get us started on the hilarity of character names like Paul and Jessica.

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Assistant Editor
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.

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