There's been no shortage of pulse-pounding intensity that packs a punch throughout The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021-), and throughout the abundance of heart-stopping moments, one haunting scene includes a darker, more disturbing piece of Captain America lore.
Carl Lumby plays Isaiah Bradley to perfection as the jarring confrontation between Bradley, Buck "the Winter Soldier" Barnes (Sebastian Stan), and Sam "Falcon" Wilson (Anthony Mackie) unlocks another token moment buried away in the Super Soldier Serum legacy. Bradley, the first Black Captain America, is forced to unearth his memories of mistreatment as a supersoldier and expose the prejudice against himself as a person of color.
Bradley is a lesser-known character that's been scattered through only a handful of Marvel comics, and this is the first time that the comic book studio is circling back to using his character more within their media. Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore was quick to credit The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's showrunner, Malcolm Spellman, for incorporating Bradley into the show while in an interview with Vanity Fair.
“...That was Malcolm. He said ‘I want to do this, what’s your feeling about this, I know it was a controversial comic.’ And I said it would be great. Bradley’s amazing!" Moore said, “[The fabric of the show] is really about legacy right? It’s about what is the legacy of Cap’s shield, and kind of America. I think if there is an overarching theme, or idea, of the show it wants to interrogate that, and it’s that legacy for everyone. And everybody is going to see that legacy differently.”
Moore went on to touch on Bradley's early introduction within the series, as the supersoldier is met during the second episode, along with grandson Eli Bradley (Elijah Richardson), who is known as "Patriot" within the Young Avengers comics. “Isaiah Bradley in the MCU version, which Carl Lumbley has done a fantastic job on, is such a more vocal participant in that conversation than he was in the books. Because he was a vegetable and was infantilized, and sort of had all the agency taken out of him. Malcolm gave him all the agency back, and now he’s a character that can actually have a conversation about what the show’s about."
There was more elaboration as to how the confrontation between Bradley and Wilson will affect Wilson furthermore, and the producer teased that there will be "more to come" of Bradley's story. "[There is] weigh on the things I think are subconscious in Sam’s character, Isaiah gets to make them conscious, he gets to bring them out. And I think that’s such an important character and more to come, but I think that’s why the Isaiah Bradley inclusion was so great. And again all credit goes to Malcolm for really advocating for that.”
With Moore heavily hinting at Bradley's return and the weight of his impact on both The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and beyond, it comes as no surprise that he will continue to play some sort of role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's new phase as it continues to unravel project by project.