* The love interest in RomanticComedy movies will sometimes be this. Like in MusicAndLyrics, Sophie first appears to water Alex's plants before she starts spouting off song lyrics.
* ''Film/{{Cube}}'' includes a seemingly detrimental character, Kazaan, who [[spoiler:turns out to be an idiot savant, and critical to solving the formula needed to escape.]]
* ''Film/BillyMadison'' provides quite a literal example with Creator/SteveBuscemi. When Billy calls him to apologize for being a jerk to him when he was a kid, Buscemi seems as if he'd only be in that one scene as a random oddball for comedy's sake. But just as Sandler is about to be killed Buscemi comes out of nowhere to shoot the would be assassin, saving Billy's life.
* ''Film/MasterAndCommander'': The French captain is not seen by the audience the whole time (TheFaceless), until [[spoiler:Aubrey finds his body in the sickbay. The ship's doctor could not save him from death, but hands over the captain's sabre to Aubrey. Later, however, Aubrey's companion and friend Dr. Stephen Maturin realizes that the French ship's doctor died months ago, and that the captain therefore must have dressed up as the doctor. The film ends with Aubrey pursuing the French ship once again.]]
* In the ''Franchise/StarWars'' film ''Film/ANewHope'', Biggs Darklighter became one when most of his scenes were cut, first mentioned by Luke about how his friends have long left Tatooine, before showing up during the Battle of Yavin towards the end. In the special edition, one of his scenes was reinserted, encountering Luke before departing for the battle.
* Throughout the movie ''Film/OfficeSpace'', Milton's storyline is seemingly unconnected to the main plot, as [[ButtMonkey inconvenience after inconvenience]] roll his way and he occasionally mutters a threat to [[KillItWithFire burn down the building.]] [[spoiler:In the end, he makes good on his threat, destroying the evidence of the main cast's embezzlement (while also stealing the money himself) and setting up for a happy ending.]]
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', the camera pays a certain amount of attention to Jim Gordon's fellow police officer Ramirez. Near the end, cue TheReveal that [[spoiler:Ramirez is the corrupt cop who drove Rachel to the place where she would die. The viewers who were completely sure she was a CaptainErsatz of Rene Montoya were either outraged or relieved.]]
** A bit of a DoubleSubversion in fact. At one point in the film, the Joker says he'll blow up a hospital if citizens let a certain man live. Batman asks Gordon to look for cops with relatives in hospitals, thinking they may attack the man. Observant viewers will remember that Ramirez's mother is in the hospital. [[spoiler:She does not attack the man, subverting Chekhov's Gunman for the moment.]]
* ''Film/CityOfGod'' features this type of character in Knockout Ned's story. [[spoiler: The character Otto is seen briefly when Knockout Ned murders his father at the bank. In this case, the gunman is literally a gunman.]]
* In the film ''Film/TheHuntForRedOctober'', the submarine's [[spoiler: cook]] suspiciously lingering in the background when [[spoiler: the political officer's body is bagged]] is at last revealed to be [[spoiler: the saboteur.]]
** Played by the same actor who is finally revealed to be the hitman in ''Film/TheBodyguard''!
** Well, Ramius does ask his political officer how many KGB agents are aboard the ''Red October''. The political officer simply says that he'd be the last person to know about any agents. It's surprising there was only one on a top-of-the-line submarine with an experimental system.
* Lampshaded in ''The Amateurs''. Two characters are having a discussion about who they want in their porn movie (don't ask), and discuss that one character's brother is out of town, and worry about how tough the brother is and what he would do if he found out. Eventually, the narrator steps in and says, "OK, we know you're not idiots, you've probably guessed by now that the brother is going to be important later."
* In the first two ''Film/HomeAlone'' movies, Kevin encounters a MisunderstoodLonerWithAHeartOfGold who creeps him out at first, but later befriends him. [[spoiler:Naturally, they both end up saving him from Harry and Marv in the end.]]
* ''Film/WaynesWorld'' parodies the ''ScoobyDoo'' version by introducing "Old Man Withers" briefly and early; later on, in one of the endings, he turns out to be the villain.
* In ''Film/TrainingDay'', Hoyt breaks up an attempted rape early on and picks up the victim's dropped wallet. [[spoiler: Later, when Hoyt is trapped by the Latino gang, they find the wallet on him and it saves his life - the girl he saved was the cousin of the gang leader.]]
* The old military veteran in ''Film/NewJackCity'', [[spoiler: ends up being the one who finally kills Nino Brown in the end.]]
* In ''Film/{{Heat}}'', Donald Breedan (Dennis Haysbert) is introduced in an individual scene getting a job as a short-order cook at a diner. He then does not appear until Neil recruits him to substitute for Trejo as the getaway driver.
* In the film ''{{Hoffa}}'', the young truck driver having problems getting his assignment, during the present-time cafe scenes, [[spoiler: ends up being the assassin who kills Jimmy Hoffa and his best friend.]]
* In ''Film/StrangerThanFiction'', while the movie is introducing the main character, Harold Crick, it also introduces two seemingly unimportant characters for flavor: a boy that has just been given a new bike, and a woman searching for a new job. Throughout the film they appear randomly as they go about their day-to-day lives with very little fanfare, until the end, when [[spoiler:Harold is nearly killed saving the boy from being hit by a bus (driven by the woman on her first day on the job) after he falls off his bike in front of the bus stop. It turns out that the [[RewritingReality writer of the story]] Harold was the main character of had been foreshadowing their appearance the entire time]].
* In ''Film/{{Changeling}}'', a young Canadian on a warrant for illegally entering the US is briefly mentioned. He is later pivotal to the plot, when [[spoiler:he says he was coerced into killing several children, and identifies Walter Collins as one of his victims.]].
* Why would [[DwayneJohnson The Rock]] be playing a seemingly unimportant, friendly agent in ''Film/GetSmart''? [[spoiler:It's not because he's the mole, is it?]]
* In ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'', the squad releases a lone captured Nazi machine-gunner. [[spoiler:In the final battle, he is personally responsible for at least two American deaths before he is gunned down by the same American translator who advocated his release]].
* In ''Film/AmericanHistoryX'' [[spoiler:a seemingly unimportant character kills the protagonist, with a gun.]]
* Charlize Theron is a bit too big of a star to merely play a disapproving housewife in ''Film/{{Hancock}}''.
* A literal example of this trope reveals the hero of ''The Good, The Bad and The Weird''.
* Jigsaw from ''Film/{{Saw}}'' is almost the poster example of this trope. [[spoiler: He gets introduced and shown in the middle of the movie for 5 seconds as a dying cancer patient and poses dead throughout the entire movie in the bathroom, and then at the end of the movie gets up and confirms Adam having lost his game.]]
** Also played with at the end of the movie: [[spoiler: Zepp first appears in just a split second scene in which he reminds Gordon of Jigsaw's name. The movie then hints at him being Jigsaw.]]
** There's also Detective Hoffman, who first appears in ''Saw III'' for all of thirty seconds, then becomes an important character in ''IV'', the end of which reveals [[spoiler: that he's Jigsaw's second apprentice. He then becomes the central antagonist of the remaining films.]]
*** But the ultimate example in the series is Dr. Gordon, who is one of the main protagonists of the original film, then disappears until the final film (''six'' movies later), where it's revealed [[spoiler: that he was Jigsaw's ''true'' apprentice, which he demonstrates by locking Hoffman up and leaving him to die.]]
* In ''Film/CemeteryMan'', Francesco's friend Franco seems a bit character. All that happens between the two is a bunch of phone conversations in which they muse about life and the very slow churn of gossip in the town. However, every time Francesco meets his friend in person, [[spoiler:Franco doesn't seem to acknowledge his presence. This is a very important detail.]]
* In ''Film/CasaDeMiPadre'' DEA Agent #2 seems like a throw away character until [[spoiler:he shoots DEA Agent Parker, who's about to kill the protagonist Armando near the end of the movie]].
** The two ranchhands also serve as such, as when Armando runs out of bullets on his rifle [[spoiler:the two come just in time to bring a second rifle to him so he can kill Onza]].
* ''Film/CarlitosWay''. [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal Benny Blanco]] ([[RunningGag from the Bronx]]), the guy Carlito roughs up [[spoiler: kills him as he was about to escape]].
* ''Film/{{Scarface 1983}}'': Tony Montana first sees Sosa's assassin with the sunglasses, [[spoiler:while he tortures and kills Omar for supposedly snitching on the Diaz Brothers. Later, the sunglasses wearing assassin, ends up being the one who finally kills a drugged out Tony with a shotgun blast from behind.]]
* Scudder in ''Literature/{{Maurice}}''. In the book he's foreshadowed subtly several times; in TheFilmOfTheBook, he gets one awkward scene where he (as a random servant) is asked ''by name'' to do some menial task.
* Mickey in ''Film/{{Scream 2}}'' [[spoiler:is bafflingly revealed to be the killer]] at the end of the film. Prior to this, he was a minor character who occasionally got into semi-amusing arguments about movie sequels.
** The same thing can apply to Roman in ''Film/{{Scream 3}}''. He's given a few scenes during the film, but it isn't until the end that you find out [[spoiler: he's Ghostface, Sidney's older half-brother, and the mastermind behind what happened in the first two Scream movies.]]
* One of the strangest appearances of a Chekhov's PERSON, in the horror-porn film ''One-Eyed Monster''. Veronica, the old whore who has spent most of the entire movie in an unconscious coked out stupor, saves the day by intercepting and preventing Ron Jeremy's detached alien-possessed member from cumming, causing an incredibly huge explosion that takes out her and the alien. As she puts it "Have you ever heard of what I can do when I'm on my cankles? I can catch a bullet with this thing. ''(flexing legs back and forth suggestively)''" As to the reason for her sacrifice? She's "47 and the world is no place for senior citizens."
* [[Series/That70sShow Jim]] [[Series/{{Reno 911}} Rash's]] character in ''Film/SkyHigh''. We first see him as the love interest's father; he has two lines and then disappears. When he next shows up, it's in the climactic school dance scene, and if the viewer notices him at all (unlikely, as he's in the background and the viewer is probably looking at Creator/KurtRussell), they will probably assume he is just chaperoning his daughter. [[spoiler: Then the Creator/PatrickWarburton-voiced BigBad's identity is revealed, and Jim gives an incredibly creepy smirk...]]
* In ''Film/{{Devil}}'', the old woman goes largely unnoticed thanks to the other elevator occupants' behavior and [[spoiler: her dying second]]. At the end she's revealed to be [[spoiler: the titular Devil]]. Also Tony, who at the end is revealed to be [[spoiler: the man who accidentally killed the main cop character's wife and kid in a car accident five years earlier]].
* In ''Film/TheDevilsAdvocate,'' the annoying Florida reporter - who seems determined to document when Kevin finally loses - [[spoiler: ends up being one of the many faces of Satan - and he's successfully able to manipulate Kevin twice.]]
* In ''Film/{{Predators}}'', the character of Edwin seems like an immediate candidate. Initially, he stands out as a normal person in a group of badass killers, leading the genre savvy Royce to wonder why Edwin was kidnapped along with them. For much of the film, he lives up to his normal reputation, with the only major break in action being briefly stabbing a Predator in a moment of desperation. Brilliantly, Royce almost manages to subvert the trope by theorising that the Predators took Edwin in order to add a "human" element to the group, that may end up dividing them. He's almost right...
* In the execrable ChristopherLambert movie KnightMoves, the killer is [[spoiler:the computer tech from near the beginning of the film.]]
* In ''Film/{{Exam}}'', Deaf ends up being eliminated early, after White tricks him into eating his paper. [[spoiler: Later, Deaf is [[TheReveal revealed]] to be the CEO who organized the Exam to begin with. Why? To see which person had the good moral character to help him spread the cure for the plague that takes place during the film's setting.]]
* ''Film/{{Mallrats}}'': All Willem wanted to do was to see the sailboat in that picture. [[spoiler: Through a chain of circumstances, however, his frustration at being unable to see the sailboat is what ends up saving the day for TS and Brodie.]]
* After [[spoiler:Dr. Gordon]] survives his game in the first ''Film/{{Saw}}'' movie, he is never seen again until ''Saw 3D'', where he becomes an in-movie Chekhov's Gunman as he's first seen cauterizing his amputated foot and later shows up at a gathering of Jigsaw survivors. At the end of the film, it turns out [[spoiler:he had been nursed back to health by Jigsaw, given a prosthetic foot, and trained as an apprentice, turning out to be the only truly faithful apprentice when Hoffman kills Jill Tuck and Gordon, acting on Jigsaw's orders, captures Hoffman and leaves him to die in the same room he himself had survived in the first film.]]
* In ''Film/PulpFiction'' you can (Just barely) hear Vince and Jules conversation in the background during "Honey Bunny" and "Ringo"'s conversation before they rob the restaurant. You can also see Vince walking to the bathroom in the background (you have to look closely.)
* The 2010 film adaptation of ''Film/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'' has Jill Pole mentioned as coming to visit Eustace at the end of the film. Should they make ''Literature/TheSilverChair'' into a film Jill will be a main character.
* In the 2008 Thai action movie ''Film/{{Chocolate}}'', the protagonist is a autistic savant girl who becomes a tremendously skilled martial artist by observing muy thai boxers and watching martial arts movies. About halfway through the movie, a severely mentally handicapped boy is seen amongst the villains and told to leave them while they conduct business. Guess who the most challenging opponent to the main character turns out to be?
* ''Film/SuckerPunch'' examples contain Wiseman [[spoiler: who turns out to be a kind bus driver that gives Sweet Pea an alibi to evade the police]], the young British soldier that catches Sweet Pea's attention in the trench warfare sequence [[spoiler: who is a passenger on the bus that she rides on at the end of the film]] and The High Roller [[spoiler: who is actually the doctor who performs the lobotomy on Baby Doll]].
* Robert, Eric, and Jordy in ''Film/MysteryTeam''.
* ''Film/{{Thor}}'' has [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast The Destroyer]]. [[TrailersAlwaysSpoil Spoiled by the trailer]].
* In ''Unconditional Love'', the killer turns out to be [[spoiler: the window washer, who'd been seen in the background earlier in the film]].
* In ''Film/{{UHF}}'', there's a few apparent throwaway scenes of a bum going around asking for change. Said bum turns up at the very end and [[spoiler: manages to help the station at the very last second]].
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'', when Blake arrives during the Gotham Stock Exchange heist, he walks over to a construction worker sitting in his cement truck and tells the guy to move so that they can get their police equipment in to block the street. Unfortunately, as soon as Blake instructs the truck driver to back up, crash barriers are deployed and he is ordered to stay where he is. It is thanks to the truck that Bane and his men are able to get out of Wall Street without being touched by the police. When Blake is checking Daggett's construction sites, he runs into this very same truck driver. Blake shoots both him and his colleague after they try attacking him with knives, which reveals that the truck driver had been planted during the heist for the purpose of providing a clear escape route.
* If Mary the receptionist in ''Film/EternalSunshineOfTheSpotlessMind'' weren't played by Kirsten Dunst, the viewer would have little reason to pay much attention to her until TheReveal about her character late in the film.
* ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra'': [[spoiler:The Doctor states that 20 Neo-Vipers have been created and ''19'' were present in their base. The 20th is said to be in Washington, and is later revealed to be in the Secret Service]].
* ''Film/{{Oblivion 2013}}'' :
** The deactivated drone that is being repaired on Tower 49.
** Sally. [[spoiler: Not only do we discover that she's nothing but the "human face" of the Tet, but that the real one (on whom the face is presumably based) was MissionControl for the Odyssey mission]].
** [[spoiler: Jack Harper. Clone Number 52.]]
* ''Film/AdeleHasntHadHerDinnerYet'': Spoofed, as are most other tropes in this AffectionateParody. Nick Carter, an American detective investigating a mysterious case in Prague, pretends he's Nick Ledvina, a Czech-American expatriate who is visiting his old country. Professor Bocek asks whether he met a guy named Ladislav Matejka who is related to Professor Bocek's family. Nick is mildly annoyed that the professor imagines America as a small Bohemian town and says he didn't have the pleasure. When Nick is leaving Prague on a train, Professor Bocek keeps waving and shouts " and if you ever happen to meet Ladislav Matejka..." Then all of the sudden, Nick's IdenticalStranger appears out of nowhere, and he says in Czech with a strong American accent: "But that is ''me'', Larry Matejka, a Czecho-American."
* ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'':
** [[spoiler:Scotty resigns before the mission after vehemently disagreeing with Kirk on using unidentified Photon Torpedoes. Kirk later enlists his aid in investigating Harrison's claims, culminating in Scotty sneaking on board the ''Vengeance'' and disabling it to save the ''Enterprise'']].
** [[spoiler:Pavel Chekov manages a surprise save of Kirk and Scotty. Yep, he was still down in Engineering]].
* In ''Film/TheHangover'', Black Doug mentions that "Marshall is gonna kill me". Four years and two movies later, Marshall appears, played by JohnGoodman.
* Lionel Shrike in ''Film/NowYouSeeMe''.[[spoiler:He happens to be the father of Dylan Rhodes, the cop who's been chasing the Four Horsemen the whole damn movie.]]
* A character in ''Film/{{Contact}}'' who seems to be nothing but a colorful background character eventually is shown to be a domestic terrorist.
* In the ''Film/BodyBags'' anthology, in "The Gas Station" segment one of the early customers is one of the few people who's nice to the female clerk but forgets his credit card even though she runs after him. After he remembers this he returns at the end to save her from an attack by a psychopathic killer.
* Sharp-eyed viewers of ''Film/XMenFirstClass'', might notice Angel in the first strip club scene as the only black stripper there.
* ''Film/BackToTheFuture'':
** In the first film, Dixon, [[EvilRedhead the red-headed bully]] who cuts in on George and Lorraine at the dance, was seen earlier kicking George when he had a KickMeSign on his back.
** In Part II, Biff Tannen's great-grandfather Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen was first mentioned in a video at [[ShrineToSelf the Biff Tannen museum in 1985-A]], who in Part III, murdered Doc before [[SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong Marty traveled to 1885 to save him]].
** [[RewatchBonus When one rewatches]] Part III, you'd realize that Clara Clayton was introduced before being rescued by Doc. As Doc and Marty discussed their plan at the Hill Valley train station, you'd see standing in the background waiting to be picked up by Doc, as Marty says "Yeah, but Doc, according to this map, there is no bridge."
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