The Entire Timeline of THE WALKING DEAD and Its New Spinoffs, Explained

The Walking Dead (TWD) universe’s timeline continues to be a trending topic among many fans, even though the flagship show is done. There were a lot of time jumps, after all. And with spinoffs like The Ones Who Live, Daryl Dixon, and Dead City coming, this world is far from being over.

It’s been a really, really long time since that fateful day when Rick Grimes woke up to an apocalyptic nightmare in 2010. How long, exactly? Let’s dive into The Walking Dead’s timeline and figure out what’s going on. 

The Walking Dead‘s Timeline; Jump to: TWD Season 1 // TWD Season 2 // TWD Season 3 // TWD Season 4 // TWD Season 5 // TWD Season 6 // TWD Season 7 // TWD Season 8 // TWD Season 9 // TWD Season 10 // TWD Season 11 // Dead City Spinoff // Daryl Dixon Spinoff // The Ones Who Live Spinoff
photos of Rick Grimes over the years in the walking dead timeline
Gene Page/Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC

The Walking Dead Season 1 Timeline: Days 1-64

The show’s first season is only six episodes and takes place over the span of a few days. In episode one, Morgan told Rick that water resources had been gone for about a month. We know that the world was still normal when Rick got shot and went into a coma. And, we saw that Shane came to visit him and tried to even rescue him after the outbreak. It seems that things went awry just weeks after Rick’s accident, so we are looking at around two months (60 days) since the outbreak. That’s enough time for the loss of our normal life things to completely fade. 

Now, Rick spends a day with Morgan, finds his family the next day, and spends another random day fooling with fake gangsters in downtown Atlanta. (RIP to those Vatos… no way they made it for long.) Meanwhile, Dr. Jenner recorded a video and pinpointed that they were on Day 63 of the virus going global. We are using this to set our whole The Walking Dead timeline, much like The Last of Us sets theirs with “Outbreak Day.” And, on Day 64, the CDC went kaboom thanks to Jenner. Good times and the end of season one. 

The Walking Dead Season 2 Timeline: Day 65-Day 88 (Approximately)

This season’s timeline is a little looser. It opens with Rick telling Morgan about the CDC event, which he said happened two days prior. So, that puts us at about Day 66. Then, the rest of the season is basically the group at Hershel’s farm. Later in the season, Daryl admits that they have been looking for Sophia for a few weeks. And it would have taken that long for Carl to heal as well as he did after being shot. We also find out that Lori is pregnant, which really helps our timeline in future seasons of The Walking Dead. Because, even in a zombie-riddled world, a pregnancy still takes nine freakin’ months.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Timeline: Day 88-Day 499 

Yes, we are still counting the days at this point, and it is for a very specific reason. Season three opens with Lori near the end of her pregnancy and the group finally finding the prison after wandering the woods for months. So, at this point, we are a little over a year into the apocalypse and about six months out from when they arrived at Hershel’s farm. Of course, The Walking Dead season three marks the beginning of their time at the prison.

Lori gives birth shortly after arriving and the group encounters their first big bad: the Governor. We can also start loosely gauging time via Judith, who appears in the season finale and is a couple of months old. But wait… how does that get us to Day 499? Well, there is a time jump of around six months between the end of season three and season four’s debut to show how the prison begins to thrive. (Well, as much as you can in this world.) So we will count that into this season, even though it takes place off-screen.

Michonne rides a horse

The Walking Dead Season 4 Timeline: Day 500 – Year 1 and 5 Months(ish)

We know for a fact that season four’s second episode, “Infected” is Day 500 on The Walking Dead‘s timeline because AMC said so. That’s a year and five-ish months. By this point, there are farm animals, and Judith is steadily getting bigger but is being carried around constantly. Things slow down again this season in terms of time—the first half has the big flu outbreak and the fall of the prison happens in a few weeks. Then, the group splinters and spends a couple of weeks or so wandering around before they reunite at Terminus. That’s where the season ends with Rick saying that these people don’t know who they are messing with. So we are at maybe a year and five months here.

The Walking Dead Season 5 Timeline: Near Year 1.5

There is no time jump at the beginning of season five when Carol swoops in and saves the day. This is the season of transition as the group meets Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, and a very cowardly Father Gabriel and double back to Atlanta to find Beth. Of course, she dies, and they decide to make their way towards Washington, D.C. in hopes of a more secure life. Along the way, they meet Aaron, who convinces them to come to Alexandria.

Now, all of this would take quite a while, considering the group walked from Atlanta to Alexandria with stops and such in between. They are also malnourished and hungry. Google says it takes about 208 hours to get to Alexandria, which equals about eight hours of walking per day for 26 days. So, tack on a few incidental days of looking for Beth and a couple more because, well, they aren’t top-tier athletes and it is over a month before they get to their new home. Then, they are there for at least a couple of weeks before the season finale, where Rick executes Pete. So maybe a month or so passes during this time, putting us around the 1.5 year mark.

Fair warning: The timeline will be looser for the next couple of seasons of The Walking Dead because the benchmarks are less clear.

The Walking Dead Season 6 Timeline: A Little Under Two Years (Still) 

Again, there is no significant time jump between seasons five and six. Our characters settle further into Alexandria, encounter a large walker herd, and unfortunately encounter Negan. Tara goes on a two-week supply run that happens at the very end of the season. And, Scott Gimple confirmed that “a few weeks” passed between the midseason finale and the second half of this season. So we are looking at about four to six weeks of time here, give or take a few days.

Maggie also reveals early in the season that she’s pregnant, which means there’s yet another kid that we can (sort of) use to measure time. Speaking of that, Judith is shown to be rolling over and practicing crawling in this episode. She’s still not walking yet, so she’s likely under a year old. This means we are maybe one year and seven months(ish) into The Walking Dead‘s timeline. Apocalypse life comes at you fast. 

The Walking Dead Season 7 Timeline: A Little Over Year 1.5 (Still)

As we know, season seven picks right up where it left off with that horrific Negan scene. And, to many fans’ chagrin, this is the season when things start to move at a glacial pace. Season seven shows us an almost daily account of life under Negan’s thumb, a dejected Rick, and our introduction to Oceanside and The Kingdom, two communities that also want the Saviors gone. It is only a couple of weeks at best. So now we are over the 1.5-year mark but certainly under two.

The Walking Dead Season 8 Timeline: Day 621 (or Year 1 and 9 Months) 

AMC confirms that season eight starts at around day 621, which is about a year and nine months. And this checks out, considering there’s a small passage of time between the previous season and now. Despite this being the big “All Out War” season featuring the burning of Alexandria and the loss of Carl Grimes, things really don’t move too fast here either. This is the point when some fans felt a bit (okay, a lot) frustrated with the Negan timeline going on for two full seasons of The Walking Dead. The war itself happens over about ten or so days, making this perhaps the shortest timespan for a season since the very first one. 

Rick Michonne and Daryl stand together in The Walking Dead Season 9 picture

The Walking Dead Season 9 Timeline: Year 3-Year 10 

Now, we do get a significant time jump following the “All-Out War” arc. Negan is locked up and everyone is rebuilding. We see that Judith is a toddler and Maggie has had baby Hershel, who is about a year old. So that puts us a little over three years into the apocalypse with a confirmed 18-month time jump. In episode two, we jump forward another month following Gregory’s death. And, the following episodes leading up to Rick’s departure in episode five happen over the course of a few days.

Once Rick “dies,” the show jumps forward a whopping six years, revealing that Michonne had a son and how splintered the communities are without Rick’s influence. So, now we are about nine years into the apocalypse, which we see with an older Judith and Hershel. By the end of the season, several more months pass as the Whisperers terrorize the survivors, and they go through a bad winter storm. That leaves us about ten years into the apocalypse.

The Walking Dead Season 10 Timeline: Year 10-Year 12 (Maybe 11) 

This season picks up a few months after the finale’s big winter storm, and the group cautiously stays away from Alpha’s borders. They decide to fight back about halfway through the season, and this battle only lasts a mere few weeks as far as we can tell. Negan’s standalone episode (which is the season finale) reveals that more time has passed since the beginning, a little under 12 years at this point. 

The Walking Dead Season 11 Timeline: Year 12

And this leads us to the final season. We get the epic conclusion of the Commonwealth arc as well as a conclusion to this long-running story. There are no major timeskips throughout the season until the finale, where we jump a little over a year ahead to show what the Commonwealth is like under Ezekiel’s rule. So, we end the show right about Year 12 and, in our time, 12 years after its debut. (The final episode aired in 2022.)

So, now that we are through that long ordeal, where does that place the upcoming spinoffs of The Walking Dead on the timeline? Let’s get into it. 

The Walking Dead: Dead City’s Timeline: Year 15(ish) 

Maggie holds a knife to Negan's throat The Walking Dead dead city
AMC Networks

The first show is Dead City, starring Maggie and Negan. An early statement by AMC executive Dan McDermott says the show takes place in Manhattan, where walkers have been overrunning the city for about 12 years. However, this is in direct conflict with the show’s synopsis that affirms 1) this show takes place “a couple of years” after the events of The Walking Dead and 2) Manhattan fell shortly after the outbreak.

Negan also affirms this in the series, saying that the initial happenings with the Saviors took place around 15 years ago. So, we will place this show in Year 15, which aligns well with Hershel’s age. He was born around year two of the apocalypse, so he would be about 13 now. We will have to wait and see how much time passes between this first season and the second one.

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon’s Timeline: Year 12  

daryl dixon stands beside a horse and cart

The timeline for this The Walking Dead spinoff show is pretty straightforward. In the first episode of Daryl Dixon, Sister Isabelle reveals that the nuns have been at their abbey for around 12 years. This also checks out with Laurent, the rather peculiar boy living with them whom they think will save humanity. So this means Daryl wasn’t out on his bike very long before he ended up on that boat to France. The first season took place over a matter of a few weeks at best. We will see if the show gives us more information in season two.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live and Its Fluctuating Timeline

split photo of Rick and Michonne Grimes the walking dead season finale survivors
Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC

The Ones Who Live doesn’t establish a firm current timeline in the first episode. We do go back to five years after the bridge, which was a year before Connie and her comrades came to Alexandria. It’s quite the trip in the past that shows Rick’s path from consignee to reluctant CRM leader. We even see the events of Campus Colony via the news, which makes sense because that show ran concurrent with the final years of the flagship series. He’s in a lot of psychological distress and so desperate to get home that he cut off his own hand. The end of the episode says “NOW,” which we will assume is the year 12 or maybe 13.

Episode four gives us a more definitive timeline, with Michonne noting that Rick, Jr. is eight years old. This makes sense considering the established timeline so far. Rick was taken in Year 3, Michonne would have given birth in Year 4, and RJ’s age puts us in Year 12. Michonne left in season 10 around Year 11 and spent a year looking for Rick. This season indeed aligns with the events of Daryl Dixon.

The Walking Dead‘s Complex Timeline, Its Spinoff Series, and Where We End Up

So, there you have it! Easy right? All this means The Walking Dead’s world is actually in the same year as ours for now: 2023.

But as The Walking Dead‘s universe continues to grow and evolve, and more spinoff details continue to emerge, who knows where the show might go. We’ll be sure to keep track of the timeline so you can follow along with all your favorites.

The Walking Dead‘s Timeline; Jump to: TWD Season 1 // TWD Season 2 // TWD Season 3 // TWD Season 4 // TWD Season 5 // TWD Season 6 // TWD Season 7 // TWD Season 8 // TWD Season 9 // TWD Season 10 // TWD Season 11 // Dead City Spinoff // Daryl Dixon Spinoff // The Ones Who Live Spinoff

Originally published on February 14, 2023.

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