Trent Dalton’s award-winning novel serves as the idea for the Australian drama Boy Swallows Universe. The adaptation of Dalton’s narrative, which shows the journey of a teenage boy attempting to find his place in the world amid a turbulent home life, could prove of interest to those looking for a new series to stream. 

Several critics commended the story, and it was nominated for the Miles Franklin Book Award in Australia in 2019. The move from page to screen looks to be the most logical next stage. Here are all the details you are looking for about Boy Swallows Universe.

Boy Swallows Universe release date

The release date of Boy Swallows Universe is Thursday, January 11, 2024.  

Set in 1983 Brisbane, Australia, Boy Swallows Universe follows 12-year-old Eli Bell as he deals with his childhood. With a mother behind bars, an absent father, and a stepfather involved in heroin dealing, his life is far from easy. Slim, a fugitive from justice who watches over Eli and his older brother August, who is non-verbal, is the only steady adult in his life. 

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While going up against infamous drug dealer Tytus Broz, Eli tries to find his father, who has gone missing, and get his mother out of prison. As he searches for his ideal self-image, he also manages to fall in love. A healthy dose of magical realism is also interspersed throughout the story.

Boy Swallows Universe Cast & Characters explained:

Below, we explain some of the characters based on the novel:

Eli Bell

Eli loves Slim, his babysitter, and his family. He has excellent recall since Slim has taught him to associate events with tangible objects. In addition, he enjoys language and hopes to work as a criminal reporter for The Courier-Mail in the future.

August Bell

August has a year on Eli, making him his older sibling. He has been silent on purpose for the past seven years.


Their mother is cherished by Eli and August. They were were five and six years old when she abandoned them and moved in with a friend she made at a halfway home. It was then that she met Lyle. She is the most stunning woman Eli has ever laid eyes on, and he finds it hard to believe that she would ever be involved with Lyle or in the drug trade.


Eli and August’s mom left their dad when they were five and six years old. Eli thinks his real father is bad because he messed up his relationship with his mother, and he doesn’t want to get close to him. 

Arthur “Slim” Halliday

Slim watches over Eli and August and is Eli’s teacher. Since he just got out of prison after serving life in prison for killing a taxi driver, he’s not the typical person to hire as a babysitter. He’s in his eighties.

Lyle Orlik

Mom’s boyfriend Lyle is like a dad to Eli and August. He’s kind, generous, and has been there for Mum through all the nine years that he’s been with her. He’s such a good influence in Eli’s life that when he was little, he called Lyle “dad.”


Teddy used to be Lyle’s closest buddy, but he turns against Eli. Teddy and Lyle collaborate for Tytus Broz early in the book – distributing and selling heroin throughout the suburbs of Brisbane. 

Below is the Complete Cast and Characters of Boy Swallows Universe


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  • Travis Fimmel as Lyle Orlik
  • Simon Baker as Robert Bell
  • Phoebe Tonkin as Frances Bell
  • Felix Cameron as Eli Bell
  • Zac Burgess as Eli Bell
  • Lee Tiger Halley as Gus Bell
  • Bryan Brown as Slim Halliday
  • Anthony LaPaglia as Tytus Broz
  • Sophie Wilde as Caitlyn Spies
  • Christopher James Baker as Ivan Kroll
  • HaiHa Le as Bich Dang
  • Isaac Strutt-Stevens as Christopher
  • Deborah Mailman as Poppy Birkbeck
  • Ben O’Toole as Teddy
  • Emily Eskell as PC Daley
  • Zachary Wan as Darren Dang
  • Millie Donaldson as Shelly Huffman (17 years old)
  • Eloise Rothfield as Shelly Huffman (13 years old)
  • Matthew Knight as Prison guard, Boggo Road Jail
  • Drew Matthews as Titch

Where to watch Boy Swallows Universe?

You can watch Boy Swallows Universe on Netflix.

Episodes Listing

  • S1.E1 ∙ Boy Smells Rat
  • S1.E2 ∙ Boy Gets Chop
  • S1.E3 ∙ Run Boy Run
  • S1.E4 ∙ Boy Loses Dad
  • S1.E5 ∙ Boy Takes Flight
  • S1.E6 ∙ Boy Seeks Work
  • S1.E7 ∙ Boy Meets End

Watch the trailer here

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