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Falcon and Winter Soldier: Why There Were No Isaiah Bradley Flashbacks

Marvel Cinematic Universe is slowly moving its narrative forward. There are moments that can fill in the gaps from the past. Apart from Captain America: The First Avenger’s World War II setting and a brief exploration of 1970 in Avengers: Endgame, the 20th Century storylines of MCU mostly remains unexplored. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier referenced the events that took place during the Korean War with Isaiah Bradley. When Bradley narrates his story to Sam Wilson, the Disney+ show does not show a clear flashback of the events.

We didn’t get to see Isaiah Bradley rescuing his boys in 1950. In an exclusive interview with The Direct, director Kari Skogland said that the flashbacks were never considered. Here’s what she had to say:

“It was always going to be a modern-day retelling because I think you want to see the man telling the story. How it affected him. To flashback is a paradigm that we’re all used to, but it takes you out of the emotion of the person.”

Skogland doubled down on the decision to tell Isaiah’s story in a present-day recollection. She emphasized that the real emotional weight comes through the character himself. That compelling story had to be told by Isaiah himself:

“In this case, that compelling story had to be told by him, and we had to see the effects on him, because I think just to flashback and see it would be just another series of images that might not have had the same impact as the heartfelt storytelling.”

Apart from Bucky’s nightmare about HYDRA, the Disney+ series shows everything in the present day. Showing the flashback of Isaiah Bradley would have given another cool Captain America suit to MCU fans. The flashback story could have a more narrative sense and left it as a modern-day recollection. Isaiah was seen in three episodes but his appearance was very brief. He lives a quiet life with his grandson and avoids speaking with outsiders.

At first, Isaiah refused to cooperate with Sam and Bucky. But he was in pain when he opened up to Sam. He revealed everything that he has kept suppressed for many years. He choked on his word many times. The camera focused only on Sam and Bucky’s faces instead of going back and forth between the past and present. This lets us to not just listen to the story but also look at the toll it has taken on Bradley. Along with Sam’s reaction, the director makes the most out of that scene. This might have been less if the makers would have proceeded with the idea of flashbacks. In case if we wish to see Bradley in action, we have to wait till his grandson gets his hands dirty down the line.

All the episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are streaming now on Disney+. The series is directed by Kari Skogland. It features Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Wyatt Russell, Erin Kellyman, Danny Ramirez, Georges St-Pierre, Adepero Oduye, Emily VanCamp, and Julia-Louis Dreyfus in the lead roles.

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