Everything You Need To Know About Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho In The Dune Reboot
Protector of the House Atreides, Duncan Idaho, looks to be even more important in Villeneuve’s Dune, and we are down for it.
The first trailers for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune recently dropped. Not only are they gorgeous, but it gave the briefest glimpses of several of the key players. Dave Bautista’s Glossu Rabban is forging new ground with his interpretation of the role first immortalized by Paul L. Smith in David Lynch’s stylish but imperfect 1984 version of Frank Herbert’s space opera. Bautista’s physicality brings a whole new spin on the Beast Rabban. In addition to Bautista’s massive girth, there is Jason Momoa’s impressive physique. He lends his surprisingly sensitive yet powerful voice to Duncan Idaho.
Duncan Idaho is easily the most sympathetic character, second only to Paul himself. He is the only character to appear in all of the Dune novels. Throughout several lifetimes, he was used as a political pawn, taken advantage of, and defiled. Through it all, he managed to maintain his loyalties and humanity. Here’s everything you need to know about the defender of the Atreides clan.
The late Richard Jordan gave life to the skilled swordmaster in Lynch’s Dune. Jason Momoa will be the fan-favorite character in the 2020 version. In both versions, he is a dark-haired ladies man who is immensely likable and loyal. He first came to service with House Atreides when he realized their ruling style was in stark contrast to the bloodthirsty Harkonnens. He was a trusted member of Paul’s father, Duke Leto’s along with Thufir Hawat and Gurney Halleck. Gurney was widely thought of as the more deadly warrior but Idaho was the more finessed fighter and strategist. He also had a knack for rallying support. he typically is depicted as being agile and cat-like with more feline reflexes. Momoa is decidedly not wiry but he has proven quite nimble as Aquaman.
He secretly harbored a love for Lady Jessica. His complicated feelings for her caused him to distrust her love for the Duke. He believed she would pick her allegiance to the Sisterhood over her love of the Duke. Ultimately he was wrong, and she chose to betray the Sisterhood and remained loyal to Duke Leto.
Later he became the ambassador to the Fremen on Arrakis. The Fremen are the native people to Dune that join forces with Paul to defeat the Harkonnen. They are the miners of the spice melange and have “blue within blue eyes”. Their continuous consumption of the spice causes this modification. Duncan Idaho became so impressed with the Fremen that he eventually took dual allegiance between them and the Atreides. The Fremen’s perseverance, even in their incredibly harsh circumstances, was a point of respect for Idaho. The persecution and the environmental risks of living and working on the planet shaped who they were as a culture.
Idaho’s contribution to protecting Paul in the fight in Arakeen paved the way for Paul to command the Fremen and become the first Emperor in the House of Atreides. Curiously for those fans of Raised By Wolves on HBO Max, Paul Atreides went by the name Muad’Dib which means desert mouse. There is a vital character on Ridley Scott’s sci-fi hit named Paul, who has a mouse resurrected. This Paul may also be or not be a prophet. Idaho was loyal to both groups the entirety of his life, including the multitude of rebirths he endured.
Duncan Idaho lives and dies thousands of times throughout his lifetime. The first was at the hands of Emperor’s Sardaukar during the battle for Arakeen. A blow to the head by one of the elite fighting force caused his death but not before dispatching nineteen of the members singlehandedly. He was resurrected as a ghola, which is a clone made by the Bene Tleilax. The clones do not have any of the memories of their former selves and are programmed for specific tasks. He went by the name Hayt as this persona and trained in philosophy. Eventually, he regained his memories; something previously thought impossible when he was reprogrammed to assassinate Paul. The fierce struggle to overcome his programming and be true to his friend Paul was the catalyst for the recovery.
Duncan Idaho married Paul’s sister Alia. That, unfortunately, proved to be his second undoing. Alia became possessed by the memory-ego of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. The Harkonnens all hated the Atreides’, especially the Baron. His power-hungry, violent memories possessed Alia, and when Duncan saw what his wife had become, he escaped into the desert. He forged a new plan to bring the Fremen into direct conflict with Alia. This ensured Paul and his children’s safety. It also resulted in his death. Duncan sacrificed himself to unite the Fremen under Paul and against Alia.
Paul’s child Leto II created countless Idaho gholas replacing each one with a new one as they died. Leto II had the memories of his father and grandfather, and as a result, loved Duncan and wanted to keep the man with him always. For 3500 years, Idaho rebelled against Leto II, hating what the Atreides rule had become. In almost all of these lives, The God Emperor Leto II killed Idaho and commissioned a new ghola. Following Leto II’s death, the Bene Tleilax used the Duncan Idaho gholas. Eleven of the twelve they created were killed within a year or two. The final one lived with all of the previous gholas and his original memories intact.
In his final lifetime(that we know of), he married Murbella, an Honored Matre, and had four children. He escaped with Sheeana, a young Miles Teg ghola, and a few others aboard the no-ship Ithaca. No-ships were invisible to mental detection. He took the ship into unchartered space to escape from the New Sisterhood. His emerging prescient abilities allowed him to see the tachyon net employed to capture the Ithaca. He finally deleted all navigation logs rendering the Ithaca lost forever.
Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert wrote Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune, which would have been Frank Herbert’s Dune 7. Duncan and the others aboard the Ithaca are on the run from thinking machines called Omnius and Erasmus. The two AI confirms it is Duncan, who is the final Bene Gesserit’s Kwisatz Haderach or superbeing. Uniquely qualified through thousands of years of experience, he unites humans with thinking machines. He becomes both the savior of humanity and the Evermind of the thinking machines when Erasmus dies.
Duncan Idaho is a beloved character because he is one of the truest, most just characters in a world with a short supply of trusted allies. Momoa’s good looks, booming voice, incredible physical prowess, and likability will serve him well, bringing the beleaguered champion to the big screen. he certainly has lived a colorful life. If even a tenth of his importance is conveyed in the film, he will be great. Villeneuve’s Dune is stills scheduled for December 18th, 2020. Hopefully, we can find our own spice to combat the virus.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.