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MacGuffin-Person Reveal

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The Reveal that the MacGuffin they've been looking for has been with them all along, in the form of one of the characters. See also Living MacGuffin and its subtropes Hostage MacGuffin, MacGuffin Turned Human, MacGuffin Super-Person, and Mundane MacGuffin Person for the possible reasons why they might be sought.

Compare God Was My Copilot, which is where a person who's been with them all along is revealed to be a deity or other powerful being. See also Tomato in the Mirror, The Killer in Me, or Hired to Hunt Yourself for instances where the person being searched for is evil or the antagonist.

As this is a form of The Reveal, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Films — Animated 
  • Barbie in the Nutcracker: In this adaptation of the ballet, Barbie/Clara realizes in the end that she is the Sugarplum Princess they'd been looking for all along after her kiss turns the Nutcracker into a prince.
  • In the BIONICLE movie Mask of Light, Takua believes he must find the Toa of Light and spends the movie searching Mata Nui for them only to discover that his destiny is to become the Toa of Light himself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Thirty Nine Steps: The industrial secret is the knowledge of Mr. Memory.
  • Ashes of Time: The blind swordsman's Peach Blossom turns out to be the name of his beloved wife, as revealed after the swordsman's death.
  • The Da Vinci Code: Sophie turns out to be the Holy Grail as she is a descendant of Jesus Christ's bloodline.
  • Jewel Of The Nile: In this sequel to Romancing the Stone, the aforementioned Jewel is not an object but a title given to a holy man destined to be the spiritual leader of the Arab people.
  • Men in Black II: Most of the movie is spent looking for the Light of Zartha, which turns out to be a Human Alien (and J's Love Interest).
  • Wonder Woman: The God Killer turns out not to be the sword Wonder Woman took from Themyscira, but Wonder Woman herself. She's a child of Zeus, and only a god can kill another god.
  • F9: The key to Unlocking Ares, a powerful weapon which could take control of every computer in the world, and thus nuclear weapons as well, turns out to be Han's adoptive daughter, Elle, or rather her DNA, the same as her parents, who invented it.

  • Oxyacytl spends all of Crystal Rain trying to get the entry codes for the Ma Wi Jung from John DeBrun, by means that range from deception to Cold-Blooded Torture. They all fail, because the entry code is John DeBrun's DNA, handprint, and heart rate.
  • In The Da Vinci Code, Sophie is found to be a personification of the Holy Grail, as she is a direct descendant of Jesus Christ and literally carries His blood.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Harry Potter spends a book and a half looking for Voldemort's six Horcruxes before finding out that he himself is the seventh.
  • An unusual version in The Neverending Story when Atreyu realizes that a human is needed to save the Childlike Empress's life by giving her a new name. It wasn't until Atreyu meets with her that she reveals to him that the human in question has been following Atreyu's adventures with him by reading a book chronicling them. In this case, the shock is far bigger for Bastian, the MacGuffin in question than for Atreyu, the one who only had been searching for him for the short time he knew about the cure.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The whole of Season 16 is Quest for the six segments of the Key to Time. In the season finale, the Sixth Segment is revealed to be Princess Astra of Atrios.
  • Supernatural:
    • Played With in "Lucifer Rising", Lilith is seeking to break the final seal and release Lucifer from Hell. Sam and Dean are both desperate to kill Lilith before she can do it until Castiel reveals to Dean that killing Lilith is the final seal.
    • A Season 5 Episode sees the Winchester brothers searching for a sword belonging to the Archangel Michael that they believe will help them defeat Lucifer. It turns out that Dean himself is the Michael Sword, destined to be Michael's true vessel while on Earth. Dean is not happy.

    Video Games 
  • Mega Man X: Command Mission: The main plot device of Chapter 3 is the Force Metal Generator, a device that can be used to crank out various new Force Metals. All parties soon discover that its creator, Prof. Gaudile, made the General into his Reploid daughter Cinnamon.
  • In Paper Mario: Color Splash, the three chosen toads that open the gate to the Crimson Tower don't know their own power until you help them out.
  • Super Paper Mario: In Chapter 7 there's an NPC called Luvbi, a Nimbi (the Mario equivalent of an angel) who tags along with the party for a bit. It's revealed at the end of the chapter that she's the last Pure Heart given a living form, since her guardians thought no one would suspect her true nature.

    Western Animation 
  • In Infinity Train, the main character Tulip teams together with the robot One-One — her to find the Conductor of the eponymous train, and him to find his mum. Turns out that One-One is the train's conductor, usurped many years ago by a former passenger, and his "mum" that he's looking for is the motherboard of the train.