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The Secret Message Jason Momoa Hid In One Of His Dune Scenes

There's a lot you have to learn if you're going to rule a planet (and maybe, eventually, more than that).

The life of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), heir to House Atreides, is filled with gifted teachers: his father, Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac), who teaches him leadership; his mother, the Bene Gesserit Lady Jessica, who instructs him in her weirding ways; and Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin) and Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa), who train him in the art of fighting.

In the film, Idaho is sent to the desert world of Arrakis early by Leto to help prepare the way for the duke's arrival and the handover of control of the planet. His and Paul's reunion is an emotional one, and it's clear from their conversations that of all the father figures in Paul's life — even his biological father — Duncan might be the one he's closest to.

But at least one moment shared between Idaho and his young charge in the film was really meant for someone else. Momoa explained in an interview with IndieWire how a sign of respect passed between the two characters is really meant to be a fourth-wall breaking gesture directed at the actor's son, one inspired by one of the martial arts that the actor trained in as part of his preparation for the film's fight sequences.

How Jason Momoa paid tribute to his son in Dune

"We did a bunch of stuff like Kali," Momoa told IndieWire. Also known as Arnis or Escrima, Kali is a martial art native to the Philippines, which places a heavy emphasis on fighting with weapons such as sticks or long knives and overwhelming your opponents with rapid blows. This makes sense if you've seen Idaho fight, even if in the end, it has to be the slow blade that penetrates the shield

Momoa said the discipline was new to him, but not to his family. "I never really learned that. My son does that." This gave him an opportunity to include a tribute to his son in their new, shared language. "There's definitely these intimate moments where I'm signaling to my son," he said in the interview. "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."

You don't actually have to have watched "Dune" to see the moment Momoa is talking about. It's present in one of the movie's trailers, in which Idaho makes the gesture and Paul appears to return it, each while holding a knife. Presumably, somewhere on Earth last weekend, another boy who looks up to Momoa did the same.

"Dune" is currently available in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.