In the Star Wars universe, there's a pilot named Jon Vander whose nickname is "Dutch".

I'm assuming that the Netherlands doesn't exist in Star Wars - or is at least sufficiently far away from the events of the films. So how did he get this nickname? Is it a Tolkien-esque name translation to make the films clearer to us poor Earthlings, or does it refer to something else?

  • 2
    You may as well ask about "Luke" or "Ben" which are about as likely an intergalactic coincidence as "Dutch." Names need to sound familiar enough to be recognizable by the audience as names. It's just a practical matter; no need to read more into it than that.
    – Kyle Jones
    Dec 30, 2012 at 0:34
  • 6
    Have I shown you my award for the Most Gratuitous Use of the Word 'Belgium' in a Serious Screenplay? Dec 30, 2012 at 1:09
  • Like so many of these Star-Wars related questions, you have to remember that Lucas wasn't really going for consistent world-building suspension of disbelief (a la Tolkien) so much as a hero's journey with swashbuckling adventure. Anything else is really just post-hoc rationalization. Dec 30, 2012 at 16:22

2 Answers 2


That's because, as far as canon goes, his nickname is more likely "Hutch" :)

Wikia article you linked to has details on this (emphasis mine):

There is a controversy surrounding Jon Vander's nickname.

Cards of Star Wars Customizable Card Game and Star Wars Trading Card Game as well as an official action figure of him name him "Dutch", while the actual line of Gold Five in both Episode IV DVD subtitles and Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays is spelled as "Hutch" (which is also what many fans claim to hear).

Until further clarification the exact spelling remains unclear.

The movie canon always trumps any other canons, so the subtitles of the movie are more canonical than trading card games or other merchandize. So are books (e.g. annotated screenplays)

Therefore, despite the last line of Wiki quote, the canonical spelling is "Hutch".

  • 1
    Quite interesting. I rewatched the scene and I hear "Hutch" as well.
    – Kyle Jones
    Dec 30, 2012 at 4:12
  • Oh... So it has nothing to do with his name, which is the first half of Vanderdecken, the Flying Dutchman?
    – Mr Lister
    Dec 30, 2012 at 7:25
  • @MrLister - not according to canon. Mind you, it may have somehow inspired it but that's just guessing Dec 30, 2012 at 7:29
  • 1
    For the record, in the new X-Wing miniatures game, his pilot card is spelled Dutch (which is what inspired the question). This presumably passed IP muster sometime last year.
    – user1030
    Jan 28, 2013 at 18:02
  • @JoeWreschnig - wonder if Mr. Holocron has a Twitter.... Jan 28, 2013 at 18:06

This is, as you've said, a Tolkien-esque faux pas. Ultimate Star Wars identifies him positively as John "Dutch" Vander so that's the current highest canon.

Snippet from a page of "Ultimate Star Wars" showing a small info box for Jon Vander along with a picture of him in his Y-wing.  The caption text reads "Jon Vander" "Appearances IV Species Human Homeworld Onderan Affiliation Rebel Alliance" "Jon 'Dutch' Vander is a former Imperial pilot who defects when he is ordered to bomb rebel-friendly areas of his home planet.  He questions General Dodonna during their briefing, but leads the rebel's Gold Squadron of Y-wing fighters during the assault on the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin.  He is shot down and killed by Darth Vader during the mission."

The nickname clearly references his looks and surname (Vander sounds like van der) although as you've rightly pointed out there should be no name connection, nor should the fact that he's got Dutch boy looks earn him that nickname within the Star Wars Galaxy.

Put this one down to sloppy writing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.