Tab-canon-black  Tab-legends-white 
"Red Leader, this is Gold Leader. We're starting our attack run."
―Jon "Dutch" Vander[src]

Jon "Dutch" Vander was a Human male and a senior pilot who joined the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War. He fought in the Battle of Yavin, flying a BTL Y-wing starfighter as Gold Leader, but was shot down by Darth Vader.


"Loosen up!"
―Vander's last words before his death[src]

Vander's Y-wing starfighter

He was trained at the Imperial Academy as a fighter pilot, but during one of his missions as a TIE Bomber pilot, he discovered the true nature of the Galactic Empire's ideals. He was ordered to bomb his home planet. He simulated a failure in his bomber and aborted the mission. He managed to escape the Imperials and joined the Rebel Alliance. Jon got the nickname "Dutch" from his Rebel friends. He became Gold Leader and was assigned to a Y-wing, flying several campaigns for the Alliance with Gold Squadron.

Prior to the Battle of Yavin, he piloted Leia Organa to the Belassar system for a Rebel mission.[2]

During the Rebel Pilot Briefing by Jan Dodonna Vander interrupted him by asking "Pardon me for asking sir. But what good are snub fighters going to be against that?" and then later gave Princess Leia a look of concern when Dodonna mentioned that the exhaust port was only two meters wide.[1]

During the Battle of Yavin, he was one of the first groups who flew into the Death Star trench. Vander was on point, followed by Tiree (Gold Two) and Davish Krail (Gold Five), who formed a buffer against enemy fighters. Vander chose an extremely close formation for his pilots; this is typical for the much faster TIE Fighters, but the veteran Krail believed this to be a mistake. As Tiree was locking his target computer, Darth Vader shot him down. Vander lost composure as Krail stubbornly refused to loosen formation, maintaining his lock on the target at the cost of Vander being able to maneuver away. Moments later Vader fired into Vander's Y-wing, killing him instantly.[1]

He had the emblem of the Specter Squadron on his helmet at the Battle of Yavin.

Behind the scenesEdit

In Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Angus MacInnes plays the pilot identified as Gold Leader. One of his wingmen, Gold Five, has a line mentioning squadron mates named Tiree and either Hutch or Dutch—the enunciation is unclear. Gold Five is referring to Gold Leader and Gold Two, but the film provides no way to determine which call sign is Tiree and which is Dutch/Hutch.

This pilot first appears in the A New Hope novelization. In this version of the Battle of Yavin, the Y-wing squadron is Red Squadron rather than Gold. Red Five, identified only as "Pops," speaks of a pilot named Dutch, but—as in the film—it is ambiguous whether he means Red Leader or Two.

The film's screenplay, as it appears in the original 1979 edition of The Art of Star Wars, uses the Gold Squadron designation for the Y-wings. Here, too, Gold Five mentions Dutch, who could be either Gold Leader or Two.

The 1984 A Guide to the Star Wars Universe clarified that Dutch was Gold Leader and Tiree was Gold Two.

In 1995, the Star Wars Customizable Card Game was the first source to indicate that "Dutch" was a nickname and that his full name was Jon Vander.

Most other sources over the years, such as the Star Wars Encyclopedia, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, the Star Wars Trading Card Game, an official action figure, and the current Databank entry, give this pilot's name or nickname as Dutch. However, the version of the screenplay in the 1997 book Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays gives his name as "Hutch." This variant was also used in the subtitles of the DVD of the film a decade later.

Vander's helmet prop — or one of a matching design — was later used by "Hobbie" in The Empire Strikes Back, and by Grizz Frix in Return of the Jedi as well as a different, unidentified pilot on Home One in the film.


Jon vander

Vander during the Battle of Yavin


Notes and referencesEdit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Stream the best stories.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Get Disney+