Jon Vander was A male Human Imperial Pilot from Onderon. Onderon was a destabilized, war-torn world because of the militant insurgency of Saw Gerrera's Partisans; however, when Jon was ordered to bomb pro-rebel areas on his homeworld, he refused, instead defecting to the Rebellion.
Working with the Rebellion
Vander became the flight leader of Gold Squadron, which flew Y-Wing Starfighters. They protected rebel convoys and attacked a few soft Imperial targets. At this time, Senator Mon Mothma, who was secretly involved in the Rebellion, delivered a fiery speech on the HoloNet News denouncing Emperor Sheev Palpatine for his role in the Ghorman Massacre.
As a result, Mothma was branded a traitor and forced to flee her homeworld of Chandrila. Gold Squadron took on the duty of protecting the former Senator and escorting her ship Chandrila Mistress to Dantooine, where they planned to rendezvous with other rebel cells. First, however, they met up with elements of Phoenix Squadron for refueling of the Senator's transport. Jon and Gold Two, as well as Mothma's aide Erskin Semaj and met Phoenix Leader Hera Syndulla and her cell known as the Ghost Crew.
Despite butting heads with Hera's rebels Ezra Bridger, Garazeb Orrelios, and C1-10P over the sensitive nature of the mission, Jon allowed Ezra to fly a Y-Wing after Gold Two was wounded during an Imperial attack. Jon and Gold Squadron used their Ion Cannons to disable an Imperial Light Cruiser before bombing it. They also formed a defensive perimeter around Mon Mothma's shuttle which gave the rebel leader and her crew enough time to board Hera's ship Ghost and escape to hyperspace.
Hera suggested an old smuggler's route through the Archeon Nebula to escape, undetected. However, this tactic was deduced by Grand Admiral Thrawn, and he deployed two Imperial Star Destroyers, as well as an experimental TIE Defender piloted by the ace pilot Commander Vult Skerris, to defeat them and take the Senator into Imperial custody. Although the TIE Defender took down his entire squadron except for himself and Ezra, the two cooperated to first defeat Skerris through their mounted Ion Cannons.
After defeating Skerris, Jon warned Ezra that Skerris would return. They later exited the Archeon Nebula only to find the Ghost being drawn into the tractor beam of one of the Star Destroyers. At Hera's command, Jon and Ezra fired their proton torpedoes into the Archeon Nebula, igniting the gas and triggering and inferno that engulfed the two Star Destroyers. The rebels then took the opportunity to safely escape to Dantooine. There, Jon, Gold Two and the other rebels were present when Mon Mothma gave an impassioned speech urging the galaxy to rise up in Rebellion against the Empire. Shortly later, a Rebel Fleet emerged from hyperspace and the Alliance to Restore the Republic was formed.
Personality and Traits
As Gold Leader, Jon Vander took care of his squadron mates. During a dangerous mission through the Archeon Pass, Jon also became a mentor to Ezra. He was also familiar with starfighter defensive tactics. Despite his earlier disagreement with the Ghost Crew for their aggressive tactics and drawing the Empire's attention, he came to respect Hera for her valor and creativity and he acknowledged Ezra's abilities as pilot telling him he can fly in their squadron anytime.
- "Secret Cargo" (First appearance)
- He is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal.
- Jon Vander appeared in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope at the Battle of Yavin and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the Battle of Scarif.