‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Fans Didn’t Get the Isiah Bradley Flashback Some Hoped For

With Disney+ digging into more obscure Marvel characters, fans are excited to see what they come up with next. When The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered this past spring, the surprise appearance of Isiah Bradley stunned many.

True die-hards wished there was more screen time for Bradley, while others weren’t even sure who he was. Speculation continues to run rampant about which projects are next and which characters get featured. Either way, there’s no doubt Disney+ is bringing in a whole new generation of Marvel fans.

What is ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?’

Kevin Feige, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, and Wyatt Russell of 'The Falcon and The Winter Soldier'
Kevin Feige, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, and Wyatt Russell of ‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’ | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

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The six-part miniseries follows Marvel characters Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes as they take on a group of terrorists known as the Flag Smashers. It’s set six months after reigning Captain America, Steve Rogers hands over the shield to Wilson, making him the first Black Captain America.

Of course, Wilson feels conflicted about his new title and grapples with protecting a country that doesn’t always protect him. 

While Marvel movies are full of action and adventure, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier tackles deeper issues. IGN characterizes it as “less a comic book villain-busting adventure and more an examination of institutional racism, radicalisation, and the looming shadow of lost heroes.”

These weighty issues and Sam Wilson’s struggles with his new role enter new territory for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and fans hope it continues.

Who is Isiah Bradley

Bradley’s story is tragic. He enlists in the military shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack. He’s forced, along with other Black soldiers, to become a test subject for the serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. Things go awry, and Bradley is the only survivor.

In order to stop the Nazis from devising their own serum, Bradley steals the shield and successfully thwarts the Germans. Upon his arrival home, he’s arrested for stealing the shield, and his good deed goes unnoticed.

On the show, after serving part of his life sentence and now forced to stay in his home because of the serum’s effects, Bucky and Wilson come for a visit. Bradley doesn’t mince words and tells them both exactly how he feels.

Collider notes Bradley saying, “You know what they did to me for being a hero? They put my ass in jail for 30 years. People running tests, taking my blood, coming into my cell.”

The conversation is tough for Wilson, who just relinquished the shield, even though he wasn’t even sure he wanted it in the first place. 

Fan reaction and predictions

Bradley’s appearance on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier surprised many fans that always wondered what happened to him. He’s often thought of as an integral part of the Captain America storyline but isn’t regularly featured. The glimpses of him throughout the series led to fans wanting more.

Recent posts on Reddit include fans saying, “Wish we saw an Isiah Bradley flashback in TFATWS, kind of like the Hooded Justice flashback episode in Watchmen. Not to say they won’t do this in the future, but think it would’ve been a great inclusion.”

On the same thread, other fans speculated that a flashback wasn’t given because a separate movie or series featuring Bradley is next in the works. “I have a suspicion that there will be an “Avengers 1959” or “Agents of Atlas” movie in the future and Isaiah will feature.

There are so many decades they have not touched on so far that they could make a movie in. I also suspect that the reason Isaiah was imprisoned for 30 years had to do with Hydra’s influence.”

Either way, fans are demanding more Bradley scenes and backstory in the future.