After the hit TV show Arcane, based on the game League of Legends, aired on Netflix in November 2021, many of the show’s characters became instant fan favorites. Naturally, Vi and Jinx come to mind first, but one character, in particular, has captured Arcane fans’ hearts even more – Vander.
The adoptive father and guardian of Vi and Jinx was immediately established as a major character in the first episode and is the embodiment of a man trying to leave a lifetime of crime and violence behind.
But what is Vander’s significance in the show? What role will he play in Season 2? In this article, I will highlight Vander’s background and significance in Arcane and go over why he has become such a huge fan favorite.
Beware, though, as this article contains spoilers!
Who is Vander in Arcane?
Vander (whose voice actor is JB Blanc) is first introduced in episode 1 of Arcane as Vi and Jinx’s father figure and protector. He is shown rescuing the two young girls from a deadly encounter with Piltover enforcers that their parents did not survive. Both Vi and Jinx look up to him, but Vi especially is very eager to make him proud.
Vi, Jinx, Claggor, and Milo make up Vander’s adopted family. Vander gives Vi the responsibility of protecting the family while he is away.
Vander is a major person of influence within the Zaun community. He owns The Last Drop pub, which is one of the most popular establishments in the undercity. This pub also acts as a meeting place for an undercity group called “The Lanes”, which Vander led. League of Legends fans think this group could be a cheeky reference to the lanes in Summoners Rift.
What is Vander’s Role in Arcane?
It is clear from the first episode that Vander is respected by many of Zaun’s inhabitants but is resented by formidable enemies. He desires peace in Zaun not only for himself and his family but also for others like Ekko, who are subjected to extreme poverty and corruption.
He strikes a deal with Grayson, a leader among the Piltover enforcers. Despite Vander’s criminal history, Grayson sees the honorable man in him. Grayson agrees to leave him in peace as long as Vander prevents the undercity from descending into complete chaos.
One of the most crucial facts about Vander is his dark history with Silco, the main villain of the show. Although they refer to each other as brothers, it is never confirmed whether they are blood brothers or simply tied together by shared experiences while growing up in Zaun.
In episode one, flashbacks show Vander and Silco’s violent past, where they are seen at each other’s throats in what appears to be a river. Although the cause of their fight is unclear, it is the incident that forever alters Silco’s appearance.
It is evident that Vander and Silco hold vastly different visions for the future of Zaun. While Vander seeks to maintain peace, Silco desires to establish Zaun as an independent nation free from Piltover’s rule.
Years after the incident, Vander leads the bloody battle against Piltover enforcers, resulting in the deaths of Vi and Jinx’s parents. Deeply affected by the loss of life, Vander believes that Zaun must establish peace with Piltover to protect its citizens. In contrast, Silco is outraged by Vander’s decision to submit to Piltover’s rule and demands that they continue to fight for Zaun’s freedom.
In episode three, Vander and Silco engage in an epic final battle that ultimately determines Zaun’s fate.
Why is Vander Such a Fan Favorite?
So why has Vander become such a huge favorite among fans? It’s hard not to love a kind-hearted and fiercely protective father figure who wants to protect his adopted family. But there’s more to him than just that.
“Fans are eager to see what plans Arcane has for him next. During his grisly fight with Silco and a Shimmer-infused Deckard, Vander falls onto a heap of Shimmer. With these chemicals pumping through his system, he defeats Deckard and saves Vi from Silco.
After saving Vi, we see Vander motionless in a pool of blood. Although he looks lifeless, that doesn’t mean he’s out of the show for good. Death may seem inevitable for him, but if fan theories are correct, what awaits Vander is so much worse.
There is an uncanny resemblance between Vander and Warwick’s lore in League of Legends. According to said lore, Warwick was once a good man who was “transformed by agonizing experiments”. Singed fused his body “with an intricate system of chambers and pumps, machinery filling his veins with alchemical rage”.
Driven mad by the experiments, Warwick can only find temporary relief by satiating a deep gnawing hunger with blood and “preys upon those criminals who terrorize the city’s depths”, which hints back at Vander’s deep desire to protect Zaun. Further driving the similarities between the two is that Warwick is noted to have been a former gangster who turned away from crime to lead a better life.
But the most damning piece of evidence is the one fragment of humanity that lingers in Warwick’s mind. Although his mind is broken and he can no longer clearly recall his past memories, one particular memory manages to haunt him – that of “a little girl screaming.” Even though he can’t understand it, it sounds like the girl is screaming out “a name.”
Could this lore be secretly playing out in episode three? We won’t know for sure until the highly anticipated release of Season 2 later this year. But it has fans extremely excited to see Vander possibly transformed into one of the oldest and most famous junglers in League of Legends.
Additionally, some fans think that Dr. Mundo could potentially have a connection to Vander, given Mundo’s chemical beginnings. However, it is clear that Warwick, otherwise known as “The Uncaged Wrath of Zaun,” has a much better chance of appearing, given the show’s themes and potential connections hinted at in Warwick’s lore.
Join the High Ground!
Vander is a crucial character to several storylines in Arcane, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what Arcane has in store for him in Season 2.
What do you think of Vander in Arcane? How do you want to see his character evolve in Season 2? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.