This weekend, after a year’s delay — to say nothing of being in development hell for over a decade — the latest big screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel Dune finally hit theaters. And despite also being available on HBO Max, it went over gangbusters, topping the theatrical box office at home and elsewhere. It’s great news for Herbert’s famously tough-to-film classic. But people online still took umbrage with one aspect: Is there really a character named “Duncan Idaho”?
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
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
There is! Duncan Idaho is the “swordmaster” for the goodly House Atreides, and he’s played by Jason Momoa, in what is arguably the film’s most likable performance. Should the other novels in the series be filmed, he’ll be back. Though the story spans thousands and thousands of years, people keep cloning him, over and over and over again. Every character, beloved or hissable, dies at some point over the novels, but Duncan Idaho was so beloved that Herbert kept bringing him back for more.
Still, he is named “Duncan Idaho.”
And so many on social media had the same idea: What a kooky name, let’s make jokes.
duncan idaho is the same name as hannah montana
— Clare Rey (@claresrey) October 23, 2021
My favorite character on Dune is Duncan Idaho. pic.twitter.com/YVRhvzkAzh
— Adam Kotsko (@adamkotsko) October 24, 2021
america runs on duncan idaho
— bong the Reaper (@tweed_thneed) 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
Duncan Idaho, Hannah Montana and Johnny Utah walk into a bar… is this something?
— Disco Volante (@discovolante0) October 24, 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
Duncan Idaho is a Gundam name. pic.twitter.com/lvMj0PL352
— That’s a Gundam Name (@GundamName) 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
Others wished Momoa’s Duncan Idaho had a bit more Aquaman in his DNA.
One note: Duncan Idaho really should’ve said “my man” at least once
— Patrick Willems (@patrickhwillems) October 23, 2021
Mind you, Duncan Idaho isn’t the only bizarre name in Dune. Thufir Hawat (Stephen McKinley Henderson), Glossu Rabban (Dave Bautista), and Wellington Yueh (Chang Chen) are nothing to sneeze at either.
To Muad’Dib, Thanks for Everything! Love, Julie Newmar
Arrakis Me, Kate
Atreides Grows In Brooklyn
Your Own Duncan Idaho
Leto The Right One In
Harkonnen the Barbarian
The Feyd of the Furious
Fremen and Robin
(these are all streaming on Shai-Hulu)
— blaaaaaaaaaines (@blainecapatch) 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
Others, though, found it easy to get over a silly name like Duncan Idaho thanks to the arguably career best work from Jason Momoa.
All the memes aside, Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho was one of the best decisions and I absolutely fucking love that character so much, hello big man pic.twitter.com/rymsA030L9
— spoopy v ampire (@aionimica) October 24, 2021
You can watch the new Dune in theaters and on HBO Max (though it really should be seen on the biggest screen with the loudest sound imaginable). HBO Max is where one can also stream David Lynch’s notorious (but also, to some, enjoyable) 1984 stab, in which Duncan Idaho is played by the excellent character actor Richard Jordan.