The Marvel Cinematic Universe prides itself on how well everything fits together, with visual references or throwaway lines of dialogue often getting paid off years down the road, so it’s only natural that fans would jump on a potential plot hole given how almost every frame across the feature film and now Disney Plus lineup is scrutinized and dissected.
This one is similar to something we’ve heard before about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s inconsistency when it comes to Bucky Barnes’ levels of anonymity, but focuses on Isaiah Bradley. As per his own monologues, we know he was experimented on during the 1950s and even fought the Winter Soldier during the Korean War before spending decades in prison and being wiped from official existence.
Natasha Romanoff encountered Bucky’s alter ego and survived with a bullet for her troubles, so Black Widow knew he was real, but she made a point of saying to Steve Rogers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that a lot of people in the espionage and intelligence communities didn’t believe he even existed, despite confirmation that he’d been an active combatant on the battlefield as early as 1951, when Isaiah had been deployed by the military specifically to track him down.
As ScreenRant explains it:
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was set in 2014, Natasha Romanoff told Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) that the Winter Soldier was a ghost and a legend in the intelligence community. Black Widow had already survived an encounter with the cybernetic Hydra assassin, whose bullet left a permanent scar in her abdomen, so she knew firsthand that he was real. But Romanoff also seemed to be relating a common belief by the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that the Winter Soldier was just a ghost story to many. Yet the fact that Isaiah Bradley fought the Winter Soldier during the Korean War means that the existence of the Winter Soldier was more than a “ghost story” as early as 1951.
Not only that, but Bradley destroyed the Winter Soldier‘s arm during their scrap, so the government also knew that he possessed enhanced cybernetic technology, which would have been passed on to S.H.I.E.L.D. when it formed after the dissolution of the S.S.R. Admittedly, you can explain the entire thing away by saying HYDRA could have kept him under wraps due to their infiltration of the government, but it’s still interesting to see how much fans invest in the MCU lore, right down to brand new supporting characters reflecting on their troubled pasts.