faking aging in characters

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - Carl Lumbly actor

While watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, I noticed the wrinkle patterns of the character, Isaiah Bradley, looked off. They did not follow the natural patterns of aging. Even with the knowledge of Isaiah’s tortured past, his facial wrinkles persisted to look suspect; so I looked into the actor and found that yes, Carl Lumbly’s skin does not look this way. The aged skin was intentionally added. 

When I posted this video breakdown on other platforms, some argued that Isaiah’s skin texture was a result of torture and experimentation; however, Isaiah’s face remained unaddressed during the discussion of his history.  Instead,  his bare torso was required to demonstrate the scarring. It is highly unlikely that a crew would spend time creating face texture to represent scarring only to fully ignore it in the storyline.

Usually when characters are aged, it’s because they are likely to be featured as their current, younger-looking selves in flashbacks, time travel, or some other magical situation that turns them young again. Since this was the second to last episode of the show, the motive to age Carl is mysterious. Though I don’t understand the motive (unless a spin-off backstory series is in the works), I do understand how to spot a face aged with makeup/prosthetics – and I was able to spot it on this face in just a few seconds. 

If you are aging a face, pay attention to where you add sagging, deep lines, and folds. There are patterns to follow. While everyone’s pattern is different, general principles still exist. Aging reflects many things – our unique anatomy, our repeated expression use, our past injuries, etc. It is a map of our history.