|This article is about a subject whose real name is unknown, and is known only by a title, nickname or alias.|
- “Bottom line is even if you see ‘em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what, are we helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come, can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are. You’ll see what I mean.”
Whistler was the alias taken by a half-demon who served the Powers That Be. An agent seeking balance in the universe, he drove Angel and Buffy Summers together in order to fulfill the prophecy of Universal Recreation.
- “My name is Whistler. Anyway, lately it is. My real name is hard to pronounce unless you’re a dolphin. [I’m] a demon, technically. But I’m not a bad guy — not all demons are dedicated to the destruction of all life.”
Whistler was conceived by a pure-blood demon and an agent of the Powers That Be, an unthinkable union. The Powers and demonkind united to punish the couple; the couple was killed, but the child of their union was left behind. Though the demons wanted to kill it too, the child was subsequently protected by the Powers. They sought to put this unique child, Whistler, to good use, by making him an agent of maintaining balance in the universe. They bestowed upon him the power of precognition.
Whistler’s career saw him appear in Ancient Greece, usher Arthur towards the Excalibur in the stone in medieval England, and even burn down significant buildings in later human history. Whistler was also present at Hiroshima shortly after the Americans dropped a nuclear bomb on it, and witnessed the dead and dying in its immediate aftermath. After centuries of this sort of activity, he became convinced of another way to maintain the balance between good and evil: the prophecy of Universal Recreation, which centered around the Slayer Buffy Summers and a vampire with a soul, Angel. Whistler believed this to be a sort of cosmic irony, given its resemblance to his own origin.
Putting Angel on his path
- “You could become an even more useless rodent than you are right now, or you could become… someone. A person. Someone to be counted.”
- ―Whistler to Angel[src]
Whistler, whose real name was unpronounceable for a human as it consisted on a series of whistles, referred to his mission as “maintaining the balance between good and evil”. In 1996, he was present in New York City, where he approached the Angel. At the time, Angel was living on the streets, feeding on rats and refusing to come into contact with any human being, fearing he would fall to his impulses and feed on one of them, as he had done in the 70’s.
Whistler convinced Angel to join him on a trip to Los Angeles, where the two witnessed Buffy Summers being informed of her calling as the new Slayer, and later witnessed her first slaying. Whistler warned Angel that this new, unprepared Slayer would face serious danger. Having fallen in love with her already, Angel asked Whistler to train him, to show him how to become someone who could be counted on.
Two years later, Whistler, aware of the upcoming awakening of the demon Acathla, traveled to Sunnydale to seek out Angel, whom he believed was destined to stop the demon. He met Buffy in Rupert Giles' apartment, telling her he had not foreseen Angel losing his soul and she needed to be ready to do more than just fight if she wanted to stop the end of the world. Whistler’s words proved true when Buffy was forced to send the re-ensouled Angel through Acathla’s vortex in order to put the demon back to his eternal sleep.
The Twilight crisis
- “You can save the world together, but only if you’re not together. You have to decide where your loyalty lies… With the girl or with the world.”
Years later, Whistler approached Angel with the bleak news that in most possible futures he had foreseen, Angel fighting alongside Buffy would result in them losing against the coming darkness. Instead, he advised Angel to take up the identity of the masked Twilight and attempt to limit the power of the anti-Slayer factions and manipulate them by directing their actions, while also guiding Buffy toward ultimate power.
A few months after Buffy and Angel deserted Twilight, and the destruction of the Seed of Wonder, the heart of magic, Whistler apparently was unable to contact the Powers That Be, and his clairvoyant powers were no longer working properly, and he blamed Angel for not going through with the plan. He approached Pearl and Nash, a pair of half-demons who had been part of the Twilight Group, after they had massacred all the patrons of a bar, and informs them that the world, which doesn’t know it’s dead yet, needs to evolve. The duo accepted Whistler’s proposition for the sake of bringing in the next stage of evolution and getting payback on their old boss.
Attempting to find Angel, Whistler tracked him to Rupert Giles’ former apartment in London — where Angel now lived with Faith Lehane as he attempted to complete Giles’s unfinished business and find a way to bring the now-dead Giles back to life-, but only discovered Giles’s aunts as Angel was currently in another dimension with Faith, Willow Rosenberg and Connor. Informing the Giles family that he intended to complete the ascension that Buffy and Angel had interrupted as part of a plan to save the world by evolving it to the next stage, Whistler gave the aunts a card with an address on it and told them them to tell Angel to meet him there on the anniversary of their first meeting.
Whistler’s meeting with him went as scheduled, briefly coming to violence when Angel showed his fury of him working with Pearl and Nash but it was quickly ended. He talked with him about destiny and expressed his anger that he had deserted the Twilight plan. Angel, however, remained unrepentant and defended himself, explaining that their friends were in danger and Buffy needed his help. Whistler admitted flippantly to him that at least two billion people were meant to die in order for the Universal Recreation prophecy to be completed but it was necessary for the balance. He revealed to him his origins and how Angel was predestined to meet Buffy but falling in love with her was unexpected, greatly shocking Angel. Whistler also mentioned to him that before all of this had happened, he saw a possible future for Earth that was dark and grim, one that he wanted to be avoided. He asked him to help him “save the world” and restore balance.
Though Angel admitted that he would always be grateful to Whistler for introducing him to Buffy and giving him a chance for redemption, he made it clear that he would not help Whistler if it meant killing any more innocents or causing any more collateral damage, bluntly stating his belief that Whistler had gone insane from being cut off from the dimensions. Outraged, Whistler attacked Angel and nearly staked him before managing to stop himself, stating that Angel was still his “favorite kid” and he didn’t want to kill him. With that, Whistler took his leave, warning Angel to stay out of his way.
The plague ball
When Alasdair’s cloaking device for his magical items was shut down in an effort to help resurrect Giles, Whistler and his group quickly arrived on the scene. Pearl and Nash fiercely fought with Angel and Faith, intending to steal the items necessary. Eventually, when the three managed to steal the items, Whistler ordered the two of them to retreat since they had gotten what they wanted. Reluctantly, they obeyed and Whistler left again with them on his mission.
Miraculously, Giles was successfully resurrected, but as an adult in a twelve-year-old body. With Giles’ urging, Angel and the others headed out to stop Whistler’s plan with the mutual agreement that not all of them would survive the fight. In the ensuing confrontation on a rooftop in Hackney, London, Angel desperately attempted to reason with Whistler, not wanting to fight his friend and benefactor, but his pleas fell on deaf ears; still believing that he was saving the world, Whistler unleashed the plague ball, mutating several people.
During a close fight with Angel, Whistler assumed his true form, a tall horned demon resembling his mother only surrounded in blue flames. His demonstrated dramatically increased strength and the ability to project flamethrowers from his palms. Angel tried to reason with him that certain costs are not acceptable, but Whistler coldly maintained that in the long run the death of the few was an acceptable cost to save the many, citing the Hiroshima bombings as an example. Though he was briefly swayed and affected when Angel stated exactly why he backed out of Twilight and forced him to look upon the suffering of those afflicted by the plague ball, he nonetheless declared that he had gone too far to stop now.
Managing to retrieve the plague ball, Whistler was about to go out and spread it throughout the world, but Angel intervened and challenged him to a duel, declaring that now it was time to find out if Whistler’s philosophy of “it’s always the big moments that define who we are” was true.
After Angel overpowered him and drained some of his power through the plague ball, Whistler reverted back to his human form. Angel tried to reason with him one more time, reminding him of the damage and horror his plan would cause. This time, Whistler was remorseful, acknowledging that he was right and what he was doing was wrong. He absorbed the plague ball in his body to prevent it from spreading globally, charring his body to a fatal level. In his dying moments, he expressed to Angel his gratitude for saving him from himself, and his final realization: “It doesn’t matter that you get what you were after if you wreck everything that gives it meaning. The planet needs balance. But you figured out something that I never did. You gotta find the balance in yourself before you can balance the world. You figured it out for me. Now comes the hard part. Now you gotta live it.” With these last words, Whistler finally died.
Personality and traits
- “Body like yours — I’d pretty much give up my soul for a shot at that, too. But it took Angel off the roster. Which puts you on the spot in a big way. What are you gonna do? What are you prepared to do? […] Or maybe I should ask, what are you prepared to give up?”
Despite the important mission he performed for the Powers That Be, Whistler remained a down-to-earth individual. He was also prone to sarcasm and irony, which people like Angel and Buffy found somewhat annoying. However, despite his way of relating to people, he remained a wise figure ready to offer guidance, despite not being asked to.
Following the failure of the plan to evolve the world into Twilight and the subsequent end of magic, Whistler became more short-tempered and hostile, preferring to continue with his plan in the belief that he was saving the world rather than allowing Angel and others to try and tackle the problem their own way. Angel himself speculated that Whistler had gone insane since being cut off from the Powers and the multiverse, this theory being confirmed when Whistler expressed regret after he was exposed to enough magic to restore his sanity.
Powers and abilities
- “Anyway, I’ve seen some of the futures.”
Whistler was a powerful demon/higher being hybrid who inherited his powers from both species, such as:
- Superhuman strength: Whistler possessed enough skill in hand-to-hand combat to overpower Angel in a fight, and even punch a hole straight through his chest. When Faith tried to attack him, he overpowered her with ease by throwing her away considerable distances.
- Premonitions: Whistler possessed a psychic link to the Powers That Be that allowed him to perceive potential futures — though he was unable to foresee everything, as he failed to foresee Angel losing his soul. However, after the destruction of the Seed of Wonder, his powers became severely affected.
- Shapeshifting: Whistler could shapeshift into a demonic state due to his half demon physiology; in that form, his true potential strength is manifested.
- Energy projection: During a confrontation, Whistler had the power to shoot extremely powerful blue energy blasts from his hand.
- Pyrokinesis: Whistler had the power to throw powerful fire from his hands capable of melting objects, which he demonstrated on Angel’s sword.
- Immortality: Being immortal, Whistler was unaffected by age or disease.
- Angel - Whistler was the one who convinced Angel to become a force for good after he had spent over a hundred years tormented by the guilt of his restored conscience, for which Angel was perpetually grateful. Whistler even described Angel as being his “favorite kid.”
- Buffy Summers - Buffy had at first regarded Whistler with hostility, threatening immediately to “tear out his rib cage and wear it as a hat”, and found certain quirks of his personality exasperating and annoying. However, he gave Buffy advice on her being prepared for certain consequences that later came to pass. He also admitted a physical attraction to her, saying that he now understood why Angel had lost his soul in her. This, however, did not stop Whistler from encouraging Angel to take up the alias of "Twilight" and lead the forces against Buffy, her friends, and the Slayer Organization. Admittedly, Whistler informed Angel that in all the futures he saw with his clairvoyant powers, Buffy and Angel would die if they worked together, and that the only way they could live was for Angel to become Buffy’s enemy. Following the end of magic, Whistler blamed Angel for rejecting his role in the Twilight prophecy, at the time unaware that it was Buffy who convinced Angel to do so by rejecting her role as well. Unbeknownst to Buffy, Whistler had caused Angel to meet her the day she was called because both of them were inevitably fated to meet for the sake of the ancient prophecy consisting of recreation, centering around both herself and a vampire with a soul, specifically Angel.
Behind the scenes
- He was portrayed by Max Perlich.
- Whistler was originally planned to serve as a sidekick for Angel on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off, Angel, but Joss Whedon cited schedule conflicts with Perlich’s film career as the reason for replacing Whistler with Doyle, a similar character.
- Whistler was also planned to appear on the unproduced Ripper, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off detailing the adventures of Giles in England.