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All Hail Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho, the Best Thing About ‘Dune’

This put up incorporates spoilers for Dune.

So there I used to be, rooting for a person named Duncan Idaho—a Midwestern potato sack of a reputation improbably pinned on a personality dwelling within the 12 months 10,191. Within the sci-fi epic Dune (launched a day early on HBO Max, to the extreme displeasure of director Denis Villeneuve), Jason Momoa performs the aforementioned Duncan, a strong swordmaster who serves Home Atreides and is pricey buddies with its future chief, Paul (Timothée Chalamet). However whereas the narrative belongs to Paul, Dune is at its finest when Momoa is onscreen–working as each a sensible, voyaging soldier and the blockbuster’s cheeky comedian reduction. 

Duncan is a high-profile fighter who serves Paul’s father, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac). He and Paul are shut, as evidenced by Paul telling Duncan that he’s been having nightmares about touring to Arrakis and coping with the Fremen. Duncan humors Paul, assuring him that the whole lot will probably be all proper, then distracts him by grabbing Paul’s skinny arm and exclaiming that he lastly placed on muscle. “I did?” Paul asks, excited. “No,” Duncan replies, utterly deadpan, strolling away from the slender child duke. 

The scene crackles with life due to Momoa’s heat—a welcome change of tempo, as there’s nothing else very heat in Villeneuve’s epic imaginative and prescient of Dune. That’s Duncan’s modus operandi over the course of the movie—bounding in, all heroic and assured, comforting Paul, cracking some jokes, then strolling away, his man-bun arising and down behind him. (It’s value declaring that in a film filled with Nice Hair, together with Chalamet’s rigorously wrangled darkish waves, Momoa simply has the Greatest Hair. Typically it’s a person bun. Typically it’s a romantically wispy French braid. Typically it’s tousled bed room waves. At all times, it’s good.)

Although his introductory second is an on the spot spotlight, Duncan’s finest scene arrives in the course of the movie—when the livid Stilgar (Javier Bardem), the chief of the Fremen, comes to go to Duke Leto. He spits on the bottom in entrance of him, a cultural signal of respect that catches Duke Leto off guard till Duncan interjects and reveals him methods to reply in form. “Thanks, Stilgar, for the reward of your physique’s moisture,” he says, an ideal line that comes instantly from the guide. “We settle for it within the spirit through which it was given.” Then he spits again—a transfer that’s positive to encourage a wave of thirst tweets from the “spit on me, sizzling celeb!” crowd. 

However it’s additionally this gesture that makes Duncan Dune’s most empathetic through-line. Although he’s from Caladan, like Paul and Duke Leto, he’s one of many few elite members of Home Atreides to spend real time with the Fremen of Arrakis and to respect their tradition, rebuking the colonizing, “have a look at these savages!” mentality of his fellow swordsmen. Duncan stands in the course of each worlds, studying the methods of the Fremen whereas additionally remaining doggedly loyal to Home Atreides.

He pays for that loyalty towards the top of the film, when Sardaukar troops lay siege on Home Atreides, launching an assault in the course of the evening. Duncan storms down the corridor in a billowing white shirt, trying like a futuristic Fabio who simply leapt off the quilt of a harlequin romance novel. (Handsomely barging into battle is a specialty of Momoa’s, a canonized a part of his ability set after enjoying the vicious Khal Drogo in Recreation of Thrones.

There are few cinematic tropes as immediately pleasing as Heroic Character Accepting Sure Demise, sacrificing themselves for those they love. Duncan will get a reasonably wonderful, vengeful send-off on this vein, singlehandedly killing a number of Sardaukar troops earlier than they lastly take him down…just for him to to get again up, pull out the sword they sunk into his chest, and kill a number of extra Sardaukars for good measure. Not unhealthy for a man whose title sounds just like the human equal of sticking a bit of wheat in your mouth after a protracted day on the farm. (“Lastly,” Johnny Utah thinks to himself, “a worthy nemesis.”) 

Ought to a Dune sequel materialize, it’s a tragedy to suppose Duncan received’t be there to brighten up the display screen. Until the movie hews intently to the guide…which, with out spoiling an excessive amount of, is aware of higher than to surrender on a beloved character simply but. 

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https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/10/dune-jason-momoa-duncan-idaho | All Hail Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho, the Greatest Factor About ‘Dune’

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