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.
Dune: “People use space drugs to travel through space and gain super powers”
Dune: “Space drugs are only on a dirt planet with giant worms and also the new space messiah”
Me: “Pretty reasonable”
Dune: “There’s a character named Duncan Idaho”
Me: “okay hold on
— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) October 24, 2021
duncan idaho is the same name as hannah montana
— Clare Rey (@claresrey) October 23, 2021
It is the year 10191. Interstellar travel has been mastered, and laser weapons and cloning are possible. The toughest man alive is named Duncan Idaho
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) October 24, 2021
If I told you Dune was out this weekend AND a new Wes Anderson film, which one would you think included a character named Duncan Idaho?
— Patrick Barb (@pbarb) October 24, 2021
My favorite character on Dune is Duncan Idaho. pic.twitter.com/YVRhvzkAzh
— Adam Kotsko (@adamkotsko) October 24, 2021
Duncan Idaho is not a fundamentally different name to Indiana Jones
— Josh but Spooky (@Joshy206) October 24, 2021
america runs on duncan idaho
— bong the Reaper 💀💀💀 (@tweed_thneed) October 23, 2021
I am too high to find out that there is a character in DUNE named Duncan Idaho. They keep saying it and I keep pausing the movie to laugh.
— Sean O’Connor (@seanoconnz) October 23, 2021
I know I’m, like, 50 years behind on DUNE Discourse, but have we talked about how “Duncan Idaho” is totally a porn name? Especially when attached to Jason Momoa?
— Suleikha Snyder (@suleikhasnyder) October 22, 2021
One way Dune manages to create an exotic, irreducibly weird setting is that it has names like "gom jabbar" and "bene gesserit" with names like "Duncan Idaho". You can never quite tell if this is supposed to be our future or some bizarre alternate universe.
— Noah Smith 🐇 (@Noahpinion) October 24, 2021
Have it hand it to Dune that there are characters named "Glossu Rabban" and "Thufir Hawat" and then there's also a guy named "Duncan Idaho"
— Peter Blairwolf (@PeterAWBlair) October 22, 2021
I know folks are chuckling about the barrage of fantasy names in Dune, followed by PAUL, but honestly the one that always gets me is DUNCAN IDAHO. Was Bob Nebraska already taken???
— MargAAAA!ret BOOwen (@what_eats_owls) October 24, 2021
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