The Internet Is Savagely Roasting Jason Momoa’s ‘Dune’ Character

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Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Readers of Dune, Frank Herbert’s epic fantasy novel and bible for 14-year-old Denis Villeneuve, already know the nomenclature: in a world where Atreides fight Harkonnens, where gom jabbars test Muad'dibs and Stilgars and Chanis ride Shai-Huluds, one warrior will emerge, and his name shall be “Duncan Idaho.”

Duncan Idaho was no doubt a welcome relief for western readers trying to keep track of a cavalcade of characters; seeing such an Anglo-American name amidst titles inspired by non-romance languages helped "Duncan" stand out. (I’m not gonna lie: I was into it.) When put to screen—where human deity Jason Momoa stands out on his own—and spoken in conversation, well, “Duncan Idaho” lands a bit differently.

The internet is a cruel place, and it has been pointed out more than once that, among sandworms and spaceships, the one feature of Dune which shatters a viewer’s sense of verisimilitude is one name which sounds like a brand of maple syrup, or a midwestern town, or a chain of strip mall stands that let you make your own pretzel.

If we exercise the principle of charity for a second and try to defend Herbert’s etymological decision, we might say that the name evokes just the kind of folk hero Americana optimism that Herbert is himself roasting—the romantic exceptionalism of a people who maintain they have befriended and made peace with the native inhabitants of a nation they are literally invading, instead of merely infiltrating them and slaughtering them. In that case, “Duncan Idaho” is a kind of tragic ideal, which never materializes and instead falls to the reality of planetary hegemony.

Or it's just a dumb name.

Anyway, here are the memes.

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