The reveal (also known as the big reveal) is a plot device in narrative structure and is the exposure to the reader or audience of a previously unseen key character or element of the plot or of the performance.
A reveal is different from Aristotle's anagnorisis, in which something is revealed to a character rather than to the audience.
The reveal may result in a plot twist and could be the key plot turn or unexpected coda in the story – in the mystery genre, for example. It may have scenes in the future that reveal consequences of actions to provide a lead for what will occur in the plot or side plot, this may be the overarching plotline in mystery or soap opera. It may also be used as a device (particularly in the climax) in stage magic by an illusionist or escape artist.
Reveal is also used for two distinct cinematographic techniques:
In the sense of the first-time showing of a character, a reveal is similar to, but usually not the same as, the opening shot or Establishing shot that gives the location or context of a new scene.