Google the name Duncan Idaho and you’ll get entire articles devoted to fans joking, mocking, and celebrating the character name following the release of Denis Villeneuve’ “Dune” in theaters and on HBO Max. It appears everyone has an opinion on the name Duncan Idaho. The character, played by Jason Momoa in Villeneuve’s movie, is the swordmaster of House Atreides and an essential mentor figure to the protagonist Paul (Timothee Chalamet). Villeneuve got asked about Duncan Idaho’s name in an interview with Vulture, and the director was quick to explain the meaning behind Duncan Idaho’s name and why that makes it so cool.
“Personally, I deeply love it,” Villeneuve said of the name. “I love that Frank Herbert gives hints of Earth culture. You have links with the Catholic religion, or Middle Eastern cultural elements. They are hints that these people were coming from Earth, and then they expanded into the galaxy. And “Duncan Idaho” roots it to Earth. So personally, I don’t know what your position on it is, but I love it. I think it’s the best.”
IndieWire spoke with Duncan Idaho himself before the release of “Dune.” In an interview, Momoa said he was still pinching himself over being cast as the swordmaster in Villeneuve’s adaptation. “It was unlike any other set I’ve ever been on. We were all so close,” the actor said. “I didn’t expect Oscar Isaac to be that amazing. So funny, talented, and charming. [Josh] Brolin, I knew would be a stud. Javier [Bardem] is like a god to me. Timothée [Chalamet] is so intelligent. Rebecca [Ferguson] is amazing, she held her own against all of us.”
Momoa also generated headlines for telling IndieWire that he hid a tribute to his son within his many “Dune” action scenes. As the actor explained, “We did a bunch of stuff like Kali [a martial arts technique native to the Philippines]. I never really learned that. My son does that. There’s definitely these intimate moments where I’m signaling to my son. That’s a Kali move, where you put your hand on your heart and put it on your head. That’s to Timothée in the movie, but that’s to my son in real life.”
“Dune” is now playing in theaters nationwide and streaming on HBO Max.