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Lucas Wolenczak

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Lucas Wolenczak
Lucas
Ensign Lucas Wolenczak
First Appearance To Be Or Not To Be
(09/12/1993)
Last Appearance Weapons Of War
(29/04/1996)
Creator Rockne S. O'Bannon
Portrayed by Jonathan Brandis
Information
Family Dr. Lawrence Wolenczak
(Father)
Cynthia Holt
(mother)
Born December 23, 2002

Lucas Wolenczak is a character on the television series seaQuest DSV, played by Jonathan Brandis. He is one of only three characters to remain on the show for all three seasons and is the only character to appear in every episode.[1]

Before seaQuestEdit

Born on December 23, 2002 in Buffalo, New York, Lucas was a highly intelligent teenager who graduated magna-cum-laude with a degree in Applied Science of Artificial Intelligence from Stanford University,[2] achieving a GPA that has been unbroken.[3] When his parents divorced, Lucas' father, Dr. Wolenczak; one of the world's most valued scientists, was able to pull some strings allowing Lucas to serve aboard the seaQuest DSV as part of the boat's scientific contingent.

Lucas has other pursuits beyond the intellectual. He is a baseball fan, and on occasion during his time on seaQuest DSV wears a Florida Marlins jersey with an annotation of their victory in the 2010 World Series.

seaQuest's Computer GeniusEdit

Before boarding seaQuest, Lucas invented the "Vocorder", a communications device that translates the clicks and squeals of dolphins into English (and vice-versa). However, the program was not complete. As a result, Darwin, the seaQuest's resident dolphin, could speak no more than approximately 125 words of English.[4]

Along with Lieutenant Commander Katherine Hitchcock, Lucas designed a new, one-person submarine, which he called the Stinger. (Although Hitchcock wanted to call it the Gazelle.) Lucas was adamant about calling it the Stinger, claiming that if he called it the Gazelle, he would get beaten up. [5]

Along with Dr. Kristin Westphalen, Lucas worked with Darwin and the vocorder in an attempt to teach the dolphin more words and to better understand the psychology of the dolphin mind.[6]

Relationship with Captain BridgerEdit

With Lucas having been all but abandoned by his parents, Captain Nathan Bridger served as Lucas' father-figure. Bridger, who had lost his own son, came to look at Lucas as his adopted son, and vice-versa. (To the point that Bridger admitted to Lucas that he was one of the main reasons he wanted to keep living after the death of his own son and wife.) Originally, their relationship was rather rocky, but it quickly grew into a very close friendship.

When Captain Bridger chose to resign rather than seek and destroy an unidentified whaling ship attacker, he personally came to Lucas to explain his decision. While Lucas claimed later that he "didn't care", he was clearly upset at the prospect of losing the captain. When Bridger returned to the ship, he admitted that he missed him.[7]

Relationship with the CrewEdit

Lucas initially had a crush on Lieutenant Commander Hitchcock, however, she preferred that they just remain friends.[8]

Without a maternal figure in his life, Lucas was often consoled by Dr. Westphalen. She, much like Captain Bridger and Lucas, were apart from their real families and sought comfort and affection from each other, almost like a surrogate family. When a hurricane threatened to kill their away team stranded on the surface of the Bermuda Triangle in a life boat, Westphalen was able to comfort Lucas' fears and provided much needed support.[9]

The closest friend he had aboard the ship was Lieutenant Benjamin Krieg, seaQuest's supply and morale officer. Krieg, who was fond of making a quick buck, would often engage in elaborate schemes to make money, usually with Lucas' help, however, the duo's "get rich quick schemes" never really panned out. As the months went on, Ben admitted to thinking of Lucas as a "younger brother", and Lucas thought of Krieg as an older one. As such, Lucas usually went to Ben for advice. When Lucas planned to sneak away from the seaQuest to attend a party with his girlfriend, Juliana, Ben not only loaned him cologne, but also a condom (although, Ben did advise against the use of it, claiming that he'll have plenty of time to "be stupid"). [10]

Lucas was apparently well liked however, as Lieutenant Tim O'Neill once joked that he was voted "Most popular on seaQuest."[11]

Destruction of the seaQuestEdit

When Lucas' father's world-wide underwater power plant inadvertently split the Earth's crust, causing lava to spill into the ocean, Lucas and the rest of the seaQuest crew were forced to abandon ship, so that Captain Bridger could dive the boat into the well and detonate her nuclear warheads, effectively plugging the hole. With the destruction of the boat, Lucas and Bridger set to work on creating the seaQuest-II. Upon its completion, they returned to the new ship.[12]

The New ShipEdit

Life aboard the new seaQuest was a bit different than the old. Lucas now had a roommate, Seaman Anthony Piccolo. Although the two appeared to be rivals at the start, they soon became closer. Originally, Piccolo had claimed the top bunk in the quarters for himself, but Lucas soon won it back in a poker game.[13]

On a shuttle mission, Lucas, along with Lieutenants Brody, O'Neill and Henderson, were swept into an underwater "drainhole" and ended up in an underground cavern. With their shuttle damaged and encountering Marcus Rawlings, another person trapped in the cavern, only four members of the party would be able to have a chance to escape after the oxygen generator was damaged beyond repair. Lucas ended up drawing the short stick and was therefore condemned to death. Shedding tears, he attempted to remain positive, claiming he would finally be able to find out everything he ever wondered about death, but, Lucas was soon allowed to live after Rawlings volunteered to remain behind. Escaping from the "drainhole", Lucas stole The Stinger and raced back into the cavern to rescue Rawlings.[14]

Shortly thereafter, Lucas became involved with a young girl named Sandra Kirby and was willing to resign his appointment as the chief computer analyst of the seaQuest to remain on land with her. However, he soon became ensnared in an elaborate scheme engineered by her father to gain control of the ship and deal a crippling blow to the UEO. Fortunately, Lucas' ingenuity allowed him to program the ship's computers to transmit an emergency beacon, allowing the authorities to apprehend the Kirbys.[15]

DisappearanceEdit

On May 14, 2022, the seaQuest was abducted from Earth by the KrayTaks from the planet Hyperion and transported back to their home world. With the ship's destruction again imminent, Commander Jonathan Ford ordered Lucas to take The Stinger and abandon ship. Moments later, the seaQuest was impacted by a massive barrier mine, and was hulled. Lucas wanted to go back and attempt to save Captain Bridger, who had been trapped on the Hyperion mother-ship, along with a team from seaQuest, but Bridger ordered him away and told him "not to let them take away what you believe." Upon the destruction of the Hyperion mother-ship, Lucas and the G.E.L.F. crew member Dagwood, along with Darwin, apparently the only survivors from the seaQuest, surfaced on the Hyperion water, apparently destined to spend the rest of their lives on the alien world. Refusing to believe his comrades to be dead, Lucas swore he'd find any other survivors from the crew. Failing to do so, he promised to one day carry the story of seaQuest back to Earth.[16]

Joining the NavyEdit

Ten years later, Lucas and the majority of the crew, as well as the seaQuest boat reappeared on Earth, having been returned to Earth, intact, by the Hyperion rebels they fought beside. Upon returning to Earth, the crew discovers that the Earth has become a much more dangerous place. Captain Bridger realizes this the most, and retires as captain, placing Captain Oliver Hudson in command of the seaQuest. Hudson, a hardened Navy man, refused to have any civilians aboard his boat. Lucas, realizing it to be the only way to stay aboard, enlisted in the UEO Navy as an Ensign and was allowed to remain aboard the boat.[17]

At first, Lucas abused his new position by pulling rank in order to gain admittance to a Deon International dining establishment, although, Captain Hudson warned him not to wear his rank around "like a new pair of shoes." When Deon International plotted to flood the Saudi Desert with a massive iceberg, they planted refugees on its surface to prevent the seaQuest from destroying it, led by a former member of seaQuest's crew: Lieutenant Benjamin Krieg. However, because of their powerful friendship formed during Krieg's tour on seaQuest Lucas was able to convince him to vacate the iceberg and allow the seaQuest to foil Deon's plans.[18]

Captain Bridger was displeased with his choice to join the military, a fact that he didn't hesitate to mention. However, Bridger soon realized that Lucas had done exactly what his own son had done, and eventually came to accept his decision. He also wished that Lucas could meet his son once he found him, for he thought that they'd get along well.[19]

BackgroundEdit

Lucas Wolenczak was portrayed by actor Jonathan Brandis and is one of three characters to remain with the series for all three seasons, as well as being the only actor to appear in every episode. The character has often drawn comparison with Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation, as both are teen-aged child prodigies, both of whom have "saved the ship" in several instances of their respective shows, and both would eventually join their respective military services.

While seaQuest DSV was originally designed to target the young male demographic (aged between 18-34), the Lucas character proved to be very popular among teenage girls, many of whom flooded NBC, the show, and Brandis himself with fan mail. As a result, the character began to take center stage in a number of episodes such as "Photon Bullet", where he was reunited with his It co-star Seth Green; "The Last Lap of Luxury"; and "Higher Power" as well as print ads and promos for the show. In the second and third season, Brandis had moved up to second billing in the credits, right after Roy Scheider and Michael Ironside respectively. In 1994, Brandis was at the top of Seventeen magazine's readers' poll of "10 sexiest guys".[20] After the show's cancellation, he continued to receive bags of mail from seaQuest fans.[21]

For his portrayal of Lucas Wolenczak, Brandis won a Young Artists Award in 1993 at the age of 17. He enjoyed some time as a teen idol, but the Wolenczak role was the peak of his acting career. Brandis hanged himself on November 12, 2003 at the age of 27.[22]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Jonathan Brandis @ IMDb.com
  2. seaQuest Episode 212: Lostland
  3. seaQuest Episode 304: Destination Terminal
  4. seaQuest Episode 102: The Devil's Window
  5. seaQuest Episode 117: The Stinger
  6. seaQuest Episode 110: The Regulator
  7. seaQuest Episode 116: Whale Song
  8. seaQuest Episode 103: Treasures of the Mind
  9. seaQuest Episode 109: Bad Water
  10. seaQuest Episode 120: Abalon
  11. seaQuest Episode 118: Dagger Redux
  12. seaQuest Episode 123: Higher Power
  13. seaQuest Episode 201: Daggers
  14. seaQuest Episode 110: Dead End
  15. seaQuest Episode 113: And Everything Nice
  16. seaQuest Episode 221: Splashdown
  17. seaQuest Episode 301: Brave New World
  18. seaQuest Episode 302: In the Company of Ice and Profit
  19. seaQuest Episode 307: Equilibrium
  20. "Be Still, Our Beating Hearts," hj magazine, p9, Syracuse Herald-Journal, May 19, 1994
  21. "Jonathan Brandis grows up," React Magazine, p11, from The Post-Standard (Syracuse), April 30, 1996, p51
  22. "Actor's death ruled a suicide," Associated Press, Daily Herald (Chicago), November 27, 2003, p18
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