Deadline reports that Carl Lumbly (Supergirl) has joined the cast, and while Disney+ hasn’t confirmed his role, the smart money is on Isaiah Bradley. Created in 2003, this character emerged from the same WWII supersoldier program as the original Captain America, Steve Rogers. Partly inspired by the real history of the Tuskegee syphilis study, his introduction revealed that the U.S. Army’s supersoldier program began by experimenting on African-American soldiers.
Bradley is the only known survivor of these early experiments, and like Rogers, he went on an independent mission to fight the Nazis. But unlike his white counterpart, he ended up being court-martialled and jailed for years and was largely erased from the official history of the Second World War. Bradley’s backstory is a very clear allegory for the way American history erases Black heroes from mainstream historical narratives.
Carl Lumbly is 68, so he’s an appropriate casting choice for a WWII veteran with enhanced healing abilities that slow the aging process. While he hasn’t been publicly announced as Bradley, Slashfilm reports that the character will play a key role. According to their sources, “the series will be about Falcon initially refusing to take up the mantle of Captain America, but ultimately changing his mind after discovering the secret history of the super soldier program by encountering Bradley.”
The show already includes several other classic Captain America characters including Daniel Brühl as the villain Baron Zemo (who already appeared in the movies), and Wyatt Russell as U.S. Agent, a more conservative and militaristic Captain America analog. Each of the Captain America films involved a conflict between the heroes’ personal ideals, and the flawed (often corrupt) nature of the U.S. military, so Bradley would be an obvious choice when continuing Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes’ story.