All Hail Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho, the Best Thing About ‘Dune’


This submit comprises spoilers for Dune.

So there I used to be, rooting for a person named Duncan Idaho—a Midwestern potato sack of a reputation improbably pinned on a personality dwelling in the yr 10,191. In the sci-fi epic Dune (launched a day early on HBO Max, to the extreme displeasure of director Denis Villeneuve), Jason Momoa performs the aforementioned Duncan, a robust swordmaster who serves House Atreides and is expensive buddies with its future chief, Paul (Timothée Chalamet). But whereas the narrative belongs to Paul, Dune is at its finest when Momoa is onscreen–working as each a clever, voyaging soldier and the blockbuster’s cheeky comedian aid. 

Duncan is a high-profile fighter who serves Paul’s father, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac). He and Paul are shut, as evidenced by Paul telling Duncan that he’s been having nightmares about touring to Arrakis and coping with the Fremen. Duncan humors Paul, assuring him that every little thing might be all proper, then distracts him by grabbing Paul’s skinny arm and exclaiming that he lastly placed on muscle. “I did?” Paul asks, excited. “No,” Duncan replies, utterly deadpan, strolling away from the slender child duke. 

The scene crackles with life because of Momoa’s heat—a welcome change of tempo, as there’s nothing else very heat in Villeneuve’s epic imaginative and prescient of Dune. That’s Duncan’s modus operandi over the course of the movie—bounding in, all heroic and assured, comforting Paul, cracking some jokes, then strolling away, his man-bun coming up and down behind him. (It’s value stating that in a film filled with Great Hair, together with Chalamet’s fastidiously wrangled darkish waves, Momoa simply has the Best Hair. Sometimes it’s a person bun. Sometimes it’s a romantically wispy French braid. Sometimes it’s tousled bed room waves. Always, it’s good.)

Though his introductory second is an instantaneous spotlight, Duncan’s finest scene arrives in the center of the movie—when the livid Stilgar (Javier Bardem), the chief of the Fremen, comes to go to Duke Leto. He spits on the floor in entrance of him, a cultural signal of respect that catches Duke Leto off guard till Duncan interjects and exhibits him the way to reply in form. “Thank you, Stilgar, for the gift of your body’s moisture,” he says, an ideal line that comes instantly from the e-book. “We accept it in the spirit in which it was given.” Then he spits again—a transfer that’s positive to encourage a wave of thirst tweets from the “spit on me, hot celebrity!” crowd. 

But it’s additionally this gesture that makes Duncan Dune’s most empathetic through-line. Though he’s from Caladan, like Paul and Duke Leto, he’s one in all the few elite members of House Atreides to spend real time with the Fremen of Arrakis and to respect their tradition, rebuking the colonizing, “look at these savages!” mentality of his fellow swordsmen. Duncan stands in the center of each worlds, studying the methods of the Fremen whereas additionally remaining doggedly loyal to House Atreides.

He pays for that loyalty towards the finish of the film, when Sardaukar troops lay siege on House Atreides, launching an assault in the center of the night time. Duncan storms down the corridor in a billowing white shirt, wanting like a futuristic Fabio who simply leapt off the cowl of a harlequin romance novel. (Handsomely barging into battle is a specialty of Momoa’s, a canonized a part of his ability set after taking part in the vicious Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones.

There are few cinematic tropes as immediately pleasing as Heroic Character Accepting Certain Death, sacrificing themselves for the ones they love. Duncan will get a reasonably superb, vengeful send-off on this vein, singlehandedly killing a number of Sardaukar troops earlier than they lastly take him down…just for him to to get again up, pull out the sword they sunk into his chest, and kill just a few extra Sardaukars for good measure. Not dangerous for a man whose title seems like the human equal of sticking a chunk of wheat in your mouth after an extended day on the farm. (“Finally,” Johnny Utah thinks to himself, “a worthy nemesis.”) 

Should a Dune sequel materialize, it’s a tragedy to assume Duncan gained’t be there to brighten up the display. Unless the movie hews intently to the e-book…which, with out spoiling an excessive amount of, is aware of higher than to surrender on a beloved character simply but. 

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