A baby boy is abandoned and raised by wolves in the deep forests of Northern Minnesota. In 1967, when he’s ten-years-old, he’s discovered by hunters and promptly shipped off to a University in California. The terrified boy is left under the tutelage of a reputable Anthropologist named Dr. Don Hoagland. The boy is aggressive, untamed, and lashes ferociously at anyone within a few feet of him.
Were it not for his human body, he may as well been a full-blooded wolf. Dr. Hoagland is patient, firm, and kind, and spent countless hours teaching him the ways of civilization. The boy is given his name 3 years later – after having a tantrum when he’s unable to fit the blocks into their proper shapes.
“See, you can! You can!” Dr. Hoagland repeats to the ecstatic little wolf-boy. The child smiles and points to himself and the blocks. “Lu…can, Lu…can!” and thus inspires his name.
The name Lucan is no doubt a play on the words “Lycanthrope” or “Lykos” which loosely translates to “wolf” or “wolf-man.”
Dr. Hoagland’s training spirals into years. When Lucan is a hale and hearty twenty-year old, he ventures into the world off campus to find his real parents and discover the truth of his identity. It’s a desire he’d nurtured his whole life. Dr. Hoagland supports him every step of the way. He fought the strict University Board for Lucan’s right to freedom. Not long after, Dr. Hoagland is struck down by a car. In the Pilot film, it seemed as if he’d died from his injuries, leaving Lucan truly alone. But Lucan’s mentor returns in good health during the rest of the series run.
Lucan is based on the true story of Victor of Aveyron – A wild boy found by a French huntsmen sometime between 1797 and 1800. He was brought to a research institute for the deaf and Dumb and taught by Dr. Jean Itard. However, unlike the intelligent Lucan, his cognitive functioning was too impaired to make substantial development. In 1969, filmmaker Francois Truffant used Victor’s story for his movie, L’Enfant sauvage (The Wild Child) starring Jean-Pierre Cargol as Victor with Truffant playing Dr. Itard.
Lucan perplexes the staff at the University and some fear he’ll become a menace to society if he reverts back to his wolfish behavior. But Lucan is the first case of a “Feral child” successfully treated and “restored to human behaviour.” Lucan lives with Doctor Hoagland. But they’d rather have him institutionalized than continue to provide grants for his training.
The Board neglects the fact that Lucan grew up to be a wise, intelligent, and mild-mannered man and some rudely dismiss him as no better than a circus animal that can perform tricks. They’d never even met him before making judgements.
Dr. Hoagland trusts Lucan to go out on his own. Lucan must keep his feral instincts in control and always remember where he came from. In the touching opening scenes of the Pilot, Dr. Hoagland and Lucan watch video footage of all the training he endured in the first years at University.
Lucan doesn’t enjoy fighting for sport or evil, nor does he cause trouble for the heck of it like many “civilized” people do. Trouble usually finds him and he’ll defend himself or others. He fears being caged since being captured to the University. When he meets others he offers pearls of wisdom and makes comparisons between animal and human nature. His manners are gentle and civil toward all.