[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/AmericanDad http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nerdbane2_5078.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Thus we beheld the face of ''[[LukeNounverber Morwyn Nerdbane]]''!]]

Someone's face, or whole body, is kept in shadows until just the right moment to come out and show his/her face to the other characters and/or the audience.

This person might be someone the audience knows, or looks like that person, or it might just be someone we don't know, but it's time to see who this character looks like.

The duration of the shadow hiding can also vary. It could be just a few seconds, to spending several episodes not seeing this person.

And how much shadow there is can also vary. This can range from going into the only source of light in a dark area, to leaving the only shadow in a bright area.

This is especially popular in some HighFantasy (usually involving a shadow in a lighted scene), and FilmNoir (usually involving a light in a dark scene).

A SubTrope of TheReveal, {{Chiaroscuro}}, RuleOfDrama.

A SisterTrope to LightningReveal, TheUnmasking.

Compare FaceFramedInShadow, DramaticSpotlight, NaturalSpotlight and FaceRevealingTurn.

Contrast TheUnreveal.
----
%%Please keep the examples alphabetized in their sections, to make it easy to find works.
!!Examples

[[AC:Advertising]]
* Used for a VisualPun in ''Film/TheNakedGun''-type adds for Red Rock Cider. LeslieNielsen shouts, "Hey! You, over there, in the shadows!" The man steps forward and reveals himself to be Hank Marvin, guitarist with sixties pop group, the Shadows.

[[AC:ComicBooks]]
* Many, many stories about Franchise/{{Batman}}, regardless of the medium, love to do this with that very character.

[[AC:Films - Animation]]
* When Belle pleads for her father in ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'', she asks Beast to step into the light, and we see his full form for the first time.
* Esmeralda beckoning Quasimodo to come out of the cathedral at the end of ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame''.
* Rapunzel does this to Flynn in Disney/{{Tangled}}.

[[AC:Films - Live Action]]
* Colonel Kurtz's face in ''Film/ApocalypseNow'' is emerging from the shadows only after minutes of talking.
* In ''Film/TheThirdMan'', Harry Lime is revealed when light from a window shines on him from across the street.
* Creator/DavidLynch has done this in many of his movies, particularly when revealing a love interest or FemmeFatale.
** ''Film/{{Eraserhead}}''
** ''Film/BlueVelvet''
** ''Film/MulhollandDrive''
* In ''DeadAgain'', Roman's face is in the shadows for a couple minutes.
* Done very creepily in one of the ''Film/{{Hellboy}}'' movies. The door at the end of a shadowed hallway opens, a security guard shines his flashlight around to make sure no one's lurking there... and as soon as he leaves and the hallway is dark again, out steps [[BigBad Rasputin]].
* Dr. Claw is sort of revealed this way in the ''Film/InspectorGadget'' adaptation.
* Inverted with Gandalf's reappearance in ''Film/TheTwoTowers'': his face is revealed after a bright flare dies down to background lighting.
* There's a scene in ''Film/LandOfTheDead'' where ZombieInfectee Cholo was heading back to the city, determined to settle things with his BadBoss Kaufman before dying. When Kaufman is trying to flee the zombie invaded city, we see Cholo take a shot at him while standing in the shadows and miss. Kaufman shoots back, hitting him in the chest, and Cholo falls. Kaufman goes back to packing his bags into the escape car only to hear a noise. Turning, he turns to see Cholo walking towards him. "You're dead!" Kaufman shouts. Cholo then finally comes into the light, revealing that he had turned into a zombie at some point while walking back into the city, and he's now close enough to do a DeadlyLunge at Kaufman. Kaufman reacts by saying "Oh god, you ''are'' dead!" in dismay.
* in ''Film/TheMenWhoStareAtGoats'', Bill is revealed this way to Lyn and Bob in the goat barn.
* In ''Film/TheFly1986'' remake, during the "Insect Politics" scene, when Veronica tells Brundle, "I don't know what you're trying to say," he finally reveals himself to her, as he steps into the light coming from the skylight.
* ''Literature/BenHur'' uses this trope for a big return to his adversary's home place.
* In the Creator/StanleyKubrick adaptation of ''Literature/{{Lolita}}'', Humbert comes home to find a man waiting inside; he turns on the lights to reveal Claire Quilty (known to the audience but not Humbert) in the guise of the college psychiatrist, Dr. Zempf. "I sat in ze dark to save you ze expense of ze electricity." Given his general behavior, it's likely this is a deliberate attempt to screw with Humbert's head.
* The male lead in ''Film/HouseOfGames'' enters the story this way.

[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* In the science fiction series, ''{{Literature/Alterien}}'', the antagonist, Theseus Spencer reveals himself to be the one behind the string of terrorist attacks executed by brainwashed people. Theseus had actually used his telepathy to program them into doing what he wanted in an elaborate test to see if Oberon was another Alterien.
* In ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', a revived Gandalf the White keeps his face and new garments hidden until it is time to reveal himself. The films actually invert this, by having him reveal himself as a blinding light fades.
* In ''[[HeraldsOfValdemar Take a Thief]]'', when the thief Skif, having just been Chosen, is brought to the Collegium, one of the Heralds confronting him is waiting in the shadows. That Herald, Weaponsmaster Alberich, turns out to be a tough guy familiar to Skif.

[[AC:LiveActionTV]]
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}''
** "Kandor": [[spoiler:Jor-El]] is revealed this way.
** "Idol": [[spoiler:Chloe does this to the ComicBook/WonderTwins; comes with a pretty epic threat.]]
* The final villain in ''Series/{{Chuck}}'' is revealed this way.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS17E2CityOfDeath City of Death]]'', Captain Tancredi's identity is revealed in this way.
* In the 5th SeasonFinale of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', Sela showing her face is the last shot.
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' does this in "Eye of the Beholder" (when revealing that these "humans" have quite a different standard of beauty than ours) and "He's Alive" (when revealing that the person guiding the neo-Nazi is [[spoiler:Hitler himself]]).
* A very common occurrence in ''Series/TheXFiles'', particularly if it's someone involved in some way with the myth arc conspiracy.
* Happens in almost every season of ''Series/{{American Horror Story}}'' (In season one it's Ben appearing to Larry. In season four, Desiree appears to Dell)
* In the first season of ''Series/{{Angel}}'', a demon comes to Angel Investigations seeking protection from the {{Determinator}} who's been chasing him across several states. Angel is then confronted by a leather-clad man in the shadows holding a crossbow, but is singularly unimpressed when ComedicHero Wesley steps into the light.
* Angel himself does this in the original ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' series, knocking out the lights, then emerging in GameFace to attack Willow in the InternalReveal that he's turned evil. Given Angelus' love for mind games, he's obviously doing it deliberately to scare everyone.
* In ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'', Phil Coulson reveals [[NotQuiteDead he's still alive this way]], and immediately lampshades it in true Joss Whedon fashion.
-->'''Agent Coulson:''' *steps out of shadows dramatically* "Welcome to Level Seven." *beat* "Sorry, that corner was really dark and [[IAlwaysWantedToSayThat I couldn't help myself]]. I think there's a bulb out."
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E20WhatIsAndWhatShouldNeverBe "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20)]], the shadow of the djinn appears on the screen behind the woman in white before he appears.

[[AC:{{Pinball}}]]
* The original version of Creator/SternPinball's ''Pinball/{{Batman|Stern}}'' has a large black cylinder in the middle of the playfield. During the game, the side rotates away, revealing SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker inside.
* Creator/SternPinball's ''[[Pinball/PlayboyStern Playboy]]'' has the "Tease Screen," a black curtain that drops down during a game to reveal the Playmate hidden behind it.

[[AC:Theme Parks]]
* The gangster that hijacks the ride vehicle on ''Ride/TheGreatMovieRide'' does exactly this in his/her first scene.

[[AC:VideoGame]]
* VideoGame/PersonaQ has it revealing the protagonists from P3 and P4.

[[AC:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', Xykon [[InvokedTrope won't let the Creature in the Darkness step out of the shadows until it's dramatically appropriate]]. The creature was ''supposed'' to do this during the big battle at Dorukan's Gate, but things didn't quite go to plan. It's spent ''years'' hiding in shadows, being shut in a box, or being forced to carry around a magical ([[ParasolOfPrettiness albeit nice looking]]) umbrella that creates darkness beneath it.
* Nesariel does this when he meets Andrew and Marie-Ange in ''Webcomic/AutumnBay''.
* ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'': Quant loves to do this. It looks especially cool with his red GlowingEyesOfDoom.

[[AC:WesternAnimation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' episode "Dungeons And Wagons", Haley's [[DeepImmersionGaming game avatar]] is revealed this way.
* Tirek in the ''Franchise/MyLittlePony'' special "Rescue at Midnight Castle", when he is about to use his Rainbow of Darkness for the first time.
* Captain Hindsight in the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Mysterion Rises".
* PlayedForLaughs in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''. Bart and Lisa meet a shady figure in a parking garage, and he stands in the shadows as he tells them to investigate Sideshow Bob's successful run for mayor, but refuses to give away his identity. Suddenly Homer drives up, illuminating the man in his headlights, and cheerfully calls out "Hi, Mr. Smithers!"
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyondReturnOfTheJoker'', when we first see the Jokerz and their gang speak with their leader, he is partly concealed in the shadows at first, except for his {{red|EyesTakeWarning}} GlowingEyesOfDoom and his grin, but then, [[spoiler:after shooting Bonk dead for [[YouHaveFailedMe defecting him]], he emerges from the shadows, revealing himself to be the newly-resurrected Joker.]]

----