jason momoa dune

Every space opera needs a handsome rogue to try to do their best Harrison Ford impression. Many try and fail, but Aquaman star Jason Momoa could just pull it off with his swashbuckling swordmaster Duncan Idaho in Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming sci-fi epic Dune. Momoa is playing the master swordsman who trains Timothée Chalamet‘s protagonist in Villeneuve’s highly anticipated adaptation of the classic Frank Herbert sci-fi novel. He’s a supporting character in the novel, but in the upcoming film, Momoa teases that he will have a greater part and even be rogueish scene-stealer similar to Han Solo in the Star Wars movies.

Momoa’s first image out of Dune is already very tantalizing: long-haired with a billowing white shirt fit for a romance novel cover, his Duncan Idaho made a good impression amid the rest of the ridiculously good-looking cast. And the actor appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show to talk up his mysterious swordsman, who trains Chalamet’s Paul Atreides, the noble heir to House Atreides. Unlike the romance hero vision that he appears to be in the image, Momoa teased that Duncan Idaho is actually a “rogue warrior” similar to the most iconic space scoundrel in cinema, Star Wars‘ Han Solo.

“I get to play this character Duncan Idaho, who’s kind of a master swordsman who’s made the right hand man to Duke Leto who is Oscar Isaac. He’s the first person to be sent out to land on Dune and that’s when I meet the character that Javier Bardem plays. I can’t believe I had a scene with Javier Bardem! It’s a pretty massive film and I get to be this little—he’s kind of the Han Solo-esque of the group. He’s this rogue warrior who protects Timothée Chalamet and serves Oscar Isaac.”

That’s high praise for any character, as Harrison Ford’s Han Solo has been oft-imitated, never replicated. And it’s a slightly confusing description of Duncan Idaho, who in the Frank Herbert novel, was sort of a non-entity. But to dive deeper, we need to talk details.

Spoilers ahead for the Dune novel, and presumably the film.

Introduced as Paul’s stern swordmaster, Duncan certainly could swashbuckle with the best of them. Duncan would become Duke Leto’s (played by Oscar Isaac in the film) ambassador to the Fremen in hopes of building allies against the coming war with the Harkonnens — which would lead Momoa to share many scenes with Javier Bardem’s Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen group — but he would meet an early doom. To be honest, before his story arc in Dune came to an end, I would often confuse him for Gurney Halleck, the equally stern weapons master for Paul. But Momoa’s hints about his role in the movie suggests an expanded role for Duncan Idaho, and maybe some personality to go along with it.

In the books, Duncan would prove so popular among Dune readers that Herbert would actually bring him back as a ghola, a clone that struggles to recollect the memories of their past lives. This future storyline is likely how Villeneuve got such a big star to play a supporting role: a chance for Momoa to sink his teeth into a meaty role that isn’t just an extension of his surf bro persona. Of course, there’s no guarantee (or even a big chance) that Dune will become a mega-movie franchise to explore that story, so for now at least we’ll get Momoa being his best rogueish self.

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