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9 Actors Who Would Kill It as Delirium in ‘The Sandman’ Season 2

Louisa Harland as Orla McCool in Derry Girls, holding a lollipop and leaning out a van window. (Netflix)

At Comic-Con Experience 2022 in São Paulo, Brazil, Neil Gaiman gave fans a tantalizing hint at what they can expect in The Sandman season 2—especially when it comes to Delirium, Morpheus’s sister and the youngest member of the Endless. “We have things coming for you in season 2,” he announced in a prerecorded video. “We have more members of the Endless coming, including the youngest member of the Endless. Don’t tell anybody, but it’s Delirium. There will be butterflies, there will be balloons, there will be magic, there will be chicken and telephone-flavored ice cream. It’s all coming for you.”

Delirium has always been my favorite character in The Sandman (well, maybe she’s tied with Death). In the comics, Delirium was once Delight, but she gradually morphed into the living embodiment of madness and chaos. As great as her comics persona is, though, it’ll be tricky to get her right in the live-action adaptation. What comes across as whimsical on the page could end up twee and vapid onscreen. Who could play Delirium in a way that captures all the strangeness, humor, and subtle pathos that makes her so great?

If I were a casting director with a budget of a zillion dollars, here are a few actors I might go with. Some of them are still emerging, while others are Hollywood darlings. All of them would put an interesting spin on the character. Here are my Delirium fan-casts!

Ellie Bamber

Ellie Bamber as Elora Danan in Willow.
(Lucasfilm)

Right now, you can catch Bamber as Dove (sort of) in the Disney+ series Willow. Dove is a sweet-natured but naive kitchen maid who ends up going on an epic adventure, during which she learns a secret about her identity that changes everything. I bet Bamber could capture both Delirium’s current persona and her past life as Delight.

Louisa Harland

Louisa Harland as Orla McCool in Derry Girls, holding a lollipop and leaning out a van window. (Netflix)
(Netflix)

Harland plays the oddball Orla McCool in Derry Girls, and although the show isn’t particularly kind to her (at one point, Sister Michael describes her as “subnormal”), there are whole hidden dimensions to Orla that are only ever hinted at. Remember that great dance scene in season 3? That scene had Delirium written all over it.

Stephanie Hsu

Jobu Tupaki (Stephanie Hsu) in a white hallway in Everything Everywhere All at Once
(A24)

Hsu’s breakout role was in Everything Everywhere All at Once, in which she plays the multiverse-hopping villain Jobu Tupaki. Hsu absolutely nailed the role, conveying a young girl whose mind has been shattered by exposure to all possible realities. Hsu is a popular Delirium fan cast on Tumblr, and I’m here for it.

Erin Kellyman

Erin Kellyman as Karli Morgenthau in Falcon and the Winter Soldier
(Marvel / Disney Plus)

I first fell in love with Kellyman when she played Karli Morgenthau in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and I became an even bigger fan when I saw her in The Green Knight and Willow. Kellyman’s quiet demeanor could bring a weightier, more contemplative presence to the character, even as she’s speaking in riddles and eating telephone-flavored ice cream.

Sadie Sink

Max & the crew in Stranger Things Season 4
(Netflix)

Sink is no stranger to weirdness, thanks to her acclaimed portrayal of Max in Stranger Things. Sink could give Delirium a tough edge that would keep her from seeming too ethereal—but she could also infuse Delirium with the warmth that makes her so lovable in the comics.

Amandla Stenberg

Amandla Stenberg in The Hate U Give.
(Fox)

I first saw Stenberg as Rue in The Hunger Games, and they’ve continued their career with roles like Starr Carter in The Hate U Give. Stenberg has a sweetness to them that would give Delirium some beautiful depth on the screen.

Anya Taylor-Joy

Anya Taylor-Joy's Olga wears a fertility wreath in a dream sequence in 'The Northman'
(Focus Features)

It might be hard to get an A-lister like Taylor-Joy to do another Netflix series, but this is a fan-cast list, so I can do whatever I want! After seeing her in roles like Thomasin in The Witch, Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit, and Olga in The Northman, I think she’d knock Delirium out of the park.

Lachlan Watson

Lachlan Watson as Theo in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, frowning in red light.
(Netflix)

Watson made their debut as Theo in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I loved Theo’s vulnerability in Sabrina, and I think they could bring that quality to Delirium as she navigates eternity governing reality alongside her imposing older siblings.

Zendaya

Zendaya fighting her mother as Rue in Euphoria
(HBO)

Like Anya Taylor-Joy, this is probably a pipe dream, but you can see it, right? Zendaya is composed of approximately 170% charisma, and she’s an amazing actor to boot. Just imagine what she could do with a character like Delirium.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and she consumes massive amounts of Marvel media, folk horror, science fiction, fantasy, and nature writing. She lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and makes yarn on her spinning wheel. You can check out more of her writing at https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.