Review: Lourna Dee is the hero and villain of her own story in Star Wars: Tempest Runner script book

Star Wars: The High Republic: Tempest Runner. Photo:
Star Wars: The High Republic: Tempest Runner. Photo: /

Six months ago, Star Wars fans were treated to an excellent audio drama detailing the origins of the infamous High Republic Nihil Lourna Dee. Now, we get a new appreciation and medium for the sharp-toothed Twi’lek’s story with the release of the Tempest Runner script book.

Penned by Cavan Scott — who also wrote the script for 2019’s Dooku: Jedi Lost — the Tempest Runner audio drama includes a full cast of voice actors and cinematic sound effects. The script book version takes the depth and dynamics to the next level by including scene-setting, stage direction, and other key details that you wouldn’t necessarily catch by just listening.

The story of Tempest Runner Lourna Dee is the same but made all the richer in the script book.

Her story from Outer Rim colony royalty to vicious Nihil marauder is a tragic one, marked by tragedy, trauma, and betrayal, as well as time as a Zygerrian slave and in a military boot camp. Each escape or rescue, Lourna remakes herself and changes her name — running from her past and all the people who have tried to define her over the years.

She’s been a princess, a slave, a cadet, a fighter, a Nihil Storm, and now a Tempest Runner. Nearly everyone she’s known throughout her life has tried to tell her who she really is. They’ve tried to “help” her do the “right” thing or start a new life or at least believe in a peaceful future.

But that’s not who Lourna really is, and she knows it. She embraces it, revels in it. She thrives on the chaos and power being a Nihil brings, and she always wants more. She doesn’t settle and doesn’t let anyone — not even the Eyes of the Nihil Marchion Ro and his late father Asgar — define her.

She is Lourna Dee, and Tempest Runner showcases exactly why we should never forget it.

Tempest Runner: A Star Wars movie in your ears

In my review of Tempest Runner’s audio drama back in August, I wrote that the story is one “we didn’t know we needed but now can’t imagine living without.” The script book only adds to that sentiment.

Lourna Dee may have had shorter appearances in other High Republic offerings, even in the Scott-backed Marvel comic series. What we used to know about Lourna was surface level — she’s vicious, ruthless, and answers to no one but herself. But the audio drama and script book finally give us the “why” of her personality and behavior.

You have to respect her hustle. Her intensity and brutality are similar to dark side user Asajj Ventress of The Clone Wars. In Tempest Runner, Lourna Dee proves once again how much Star Wars needs more vicious, villainous women.

For this review, I plugged in the audio drama to listen to the captivating Jessica Almasy voice Lourna Dee while I followed along with Scott’s script. Just a few lines in, I immediately felt more hooked and oriented to the scenes playing out on the page and in my ears.

The descriptive cast list is excellent reference material, adding much more context to characters we didn’t previously get in the audio drama. Another script book bonus is the scene settings, which tell us what planet we’re on and who we are watching/listening to. There are also “FX” lines that describe the auditory feel of a scene and give a little peek behind the scenes of the story’s production.

With Tempest Runner‘s story structure of frequent flashbacks, it’s almost essential to have the script book in front of you so as to not miss a beat of the story. I listened to the audio drama twice before writing my review last year, and while I greatly enjoyed the overall finished product, I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing cues and character changes.

Having a script book also helps those who are deaf or hard of hearing and those who struggle to follow along with an audio story without having something to see and read in front of them. I don’t claim to know the ins and outs of audio drama production and script book publishing, but I do know many Star Wars readers would be OK waiting a little longer if they could have the audio and script book versions released at the same time.

On the flip side, it’s nice to have the script book come out now to give us one more High Republic Phase 1 story — as a treat — before the long THR drought ahead of Phase 2 dropping in the fall.

Tempest Runner is a superlative story in The High Republic era and in Star Wars overall. Scott has proven he’s versed in all forms of storytelling, connecting and fleshing out key characters across novels, comics, and scripts. That’s especially true for The High Republic villains, who get the most screen time in Tempest Runner.

By the end of Tempest Runner, you just might change your allegiance from the virtuous Jedi to the merciless Lourna Dee.

Related Story. Star Wars: Tempest Runner audio drama delves into what makes a Nihil. light

Star Wars: The High Republic: Tempest Runner is available now through Del Rey. The audio drama is also available through Penguin Random House Audio wherever you get your audiobook fix.