The Walking Dead takes place across 7 shows, covering multiple seasons and years of storytelling. Here's the complete TWD timeline explained.
timeline is complex, with its main series and various spinoff shows taking place at different points in the ongoing story. Based on the comics by Robert Kirkman, AMC's live-action TV show has taken on a life of its own, adding new stories, original characters, and multiple spinoff series including ,and . The main series has now finished its final season, while is through its seventh, with an eighth confirmed. has come and gone, while is awaiting the greenlight for season 2. More spinoffs are also lined up for the future, including shows focusing on Rick and Michonne, Maggie and Negan, and Daryl and Carol.
The original employs several extended time skips that advance the story. However, thetimeline on TV has advanced at an ever-faster rate, with the post-Savior leap in time being far longer than in the comics. And where initially charted the origins of the outbreak, the show soon caught up to the main series adaptation — before falling behind yet again. With multiple shows already twisting and turning around each other and even more zombie apocalypse goodness on the way, the convoluted world of is trickier to follow than ever. Here is a chronological breakdown of in relation to each show and the real world.
Pre-outbreak: An incident at a French laboratory triggers the show's zombie outbreak. The scientists attempt to fix their mistake but make it worse, resulting in faster zombie variants. The French scientists initially liaise with Dr. Jenner in the United States but are imprisoned or killed by survivors in their native country.
season 1: timeline begins with Rick Grimes getting shot while on duty as a cop and falling into a coma. The entire world goes very wrong during his absence, and Rick finally awakens on day 59 of the zombie outbreak, with season 1 taking place in mid-to-late 2010, relative to when the premiere episode aired. The story kicks off properly with Rick's awakening, and the entirety of season 1 comprises a brisk six episodes. The plot takes Rick from the hospital to Morgan's house, then toward an emotional reunion with his family, and finally to the CDC where season 1 concludes. These events take place within one week, bringing us to day 64 — roughly nine weeks since the virus began wreaking havoc.
season 2: The much-maligned season 2 takes place mostly on the Greene family's farm, where Rick's group spends a couple of weeks camped up with Hershel and his children, including Maggie. These events move timeline onto day 83 when Hershel's farm is overrun, and the two groups officially join to head out into the unknown wilderness. The year is probably still 2010. Concurrent with season 2, Negan's first wife, Lucille, runs out of cancer medication, and he heads off to find help. Six weeks later — between seasons 2 and 3 — he finds a doctor but fails to save Lucille. The Saviors are born.
season 3: The first jump in timeline occurs between seasons 2 and 3, moving the story forward approximately seven or eight months as Rick's group endures a harsh winter and hones their survival skills. When season 3 begins, the calendar turns to 2011, at which point the characters encounter a prison to make their new home. Michonne is introduced, and the first battle against The Governor takes place. This all happens within a few weeks, bringing timeline to somewhere in the vicinity of 321 days since patient zero first spluttered over someone.
season 4: Another time skip occurs between seasons 3 and 4, lasting a period of six months while the prison community enjoys a spell of peace. During this time, Morgan Jones meets Eastman and learns the art of Aikido that'll serve him well in future seasons, while The Governor recoups and encounters new followers. Now toward the end of 2011, 500 days of zombie apocalypse summer have passed. Rick's survivors are in flu season and enduring a devastating outbreak. The prison is abandoned altogether after The Governor attacks, forcing Rick's people to split up and reunite at Terminus, which turns out to be a bad move. With each second-half episode in season 4 focusing on a different group, the narrative takes place over a mere one or two weeks.
season 5: Picking up where season 4 left off, season 5 deals with the Terminus cannibals and moves Rick's group to Alexandria, with Beth and Tyreese falling during the journey. Another condensed installment, season 5 largely takes place inside a two-month period, bringing the show just shy of day 550.
season 6: Once again, there's no time skip before season 6, and the first half of this installment is even more constrained than before. The first nine episodes, from the premiere until "No Way Out," focus on preventing a herd from attacking Alexandria and only span a handful of days. A mini-skip of one or two months occurs during season 6's mid-season break, then the second batch of episodes covers a little over a week, leaving timeline just under 600 days removed from the outbreak's onset. The second half of season 6 sees the first foray into show's Negan arc.
season 7: With season 6 ending on the notorious Negan cliffhanger, there's no gap between season 6's finale and season 7's premiere. In fact, actually rewinds a few minutes to show who met the wrong end of Negan's baseball bat. Over the course of 12 days, Negan's Saviors continue to lean heavily on both Alexandria and Hilltop, while contact is made with the Kingdom, Oceanside, and the Scavengers. An attempt to overthrow Negan goes wrong thanks to the duplicitous Jadis, and timeline hits 610 days.
season 8: With a couple of weeks passing since the season 7 finale and Rick's declaration of war, season 8 is now undoubtedly into 2012 and once again only charts a period of a few days. This is enough for Rick Grimes to turn the tide against Negan, and by the season finale episode, the threat of the Saviors is over.
season 9 : In our first significant time jump, timeline moves ahead 18 months, with Alexandria and its allies enjoying their longest period of peace and prosperity thanks to Negan sitting in jail. The first five episodes of season 9 likely take place in late 2013 and span just over one month while the allied communities — now including the remaining Saviors — attempt to build bridges of both the literal and metaphorical kinds. The world has been awful for slightly more than 1,200 days. This is when Rick Grimes "dies" in a fiery explosion.
Eight months later — judging by the progress of Michonne's pregnancy — the events of "Scars" take place. Sixteen months after that, Daryl meets Leah and Dog while out in the wild searching for Rick, and they casually bicker with each other over the ensuing two years of sporadic forest meetings.
season 9 continues in late 2019. Six years have passed since Rick's assumed death, and Judith is now 8 years old. Most of the rest of the season covers a short period of days when the survivors make first contact with the Whisperers. After Alpha's severed head display in "The Calm Before," there's another jump before the finale lasting three or four months and taking 's narrative to approximately day 4,190.
season 10 : With time jumps as common as Negan's colorful insults at this point, season 10 picks up four or five months after the season 9 finale (this was confirmed by showrunner Angela Kang) taking the story through much of 2020. Fortunately, timeline gymnastics pass, and the events of season 10 take place within a time frame of several weeks, bringing the day counter closer to 4,500. season 10's supplementary "COVID" episodes also occur very close together with no major time skips.
season 11: 's final season picks up very close to, if not directly after, the Whisperers' defeat at the end of season 10. The first time jump occurs between "No Other Way" and "New Haunts," which sees the show fast-forward about a month in the future, leading up to Carol's discovery of Ezekiel's condition while staying at the Commonwealth. However, the biggest time leap occurs in , with a year passing between the defeat of the zombie hoard and the rebuilding of Hilltop and Alexandria. All in all, by its end, takes place over 5,065 days — or about 13 and a half years.
season 1: Spinoffs begin to muddle when the shows take place. Billed as a prequel to the main series, begins slightly before its predecessor in the period of time when Rick Grimes was in a coma. This puts the series premiere around July or August 2010 in real-world dates, then it covers approximately two weeks of story. This takes Madison and her family from the moment they first notice the undead to their arrival at Victor Strand's yacht on outbreak day 16.
season 2: The first half of season 2 continues straight from season 1 and only adds another week or so to timeline. When season 2 resumes with "Grotesque," the action moves to Mexico but still only inches forward. The prequel is somewhere around day 36 at the season finale, with Rick still yet to awaken on the other side of the United States.
season 3: season 3 picks up right after season 2's cliffhanger ending, but then covers a slightly bigger expanse of over a month, as Madison and her family become embroiled in a post-apocalyptic battle between racist cowboys and Native Americans. By the time the action ends, the prime story of has begun, and the Clark family has been separated by a dam explosion on day 64.
season 4: After only covering a couple of months in the space of three seasons, hits the accelerator and winds up two years in the future, now set in mid-to-late 2012. flashbacks show how Madison's family settled on a baseball field during that two-year period but were forced to vacate under attack from an enemy group. season 4 begins around day 800 and spans several days in its first eight episodes. A month then passes before "Close Your Eyes," from which point the rest of the season charts another week or so. At this point, Morgan joins the group from , and Rick's people are enjoying a peaceful period after Negan's defeat.
season 5: By the time season 5 begins, Morgan and his new friends have spent several months trying to help others in need, landing the spin-off in 2013. is still in the interim between seasons 8 and 9. The first eight episodes of season 5 spread across a week, where the survivors land a plane in a radioactive area to help those trapped within and miraculously make their escape. When the story resumes around day 1,000, over a month has passed for Morgan's band of do-gooders. season 5's clash with Virginia then lasts a further week.
season 6: Left for dead by Virginia in season 5's finale, Morgan returns in season 6, revealing five or six weeks have passed. From episode 1, "The End Is The Beginning," to episode 9, "Things Left To Do," a little under two months pass as Morgan gradually builds The Valley, and Virginia keeps her captives working tirelessly for the pioneers. season 6, episode 10, "Handle With Care," continues the story following a short time jump, during which Morgan's Valley, Strand's Pioneers, and Sherry's Outcasts have settled into a new regime without Virginia. The remaining six episodes of season 6 last around a week in the universe.
season 7: season 7's timeline is an absolute nightmare to follow, starting from season 6's finale and stretching months into the future, but never in chronological order. Alicia's arm loss happens in conjunction with Teddy's nuke from season 6, and Sarah wakes up with the other helicopter evacuees two days later. After another five days, Alicia awakens in the Franklin Hotel's bunker.
Fifty days later — according to Will — is when the timeline properly begins, as the separated survivors do their best to navigate both zombies and nuclear radiation. From Will's fateful encounter with Victor Strand in episode 1 to Alicia declaring war on the tower in episode 8 takes a little less than 100 days. This is evidenced by June and John's chalkboard, the amount of time Wendell went missing, and other small confirmed increments between episodes.
: It's been confirmed that season 8 will have a huge time jump, which might align the series timeline with that of . season 8 will be the final installment of the series, and it airs on May 15th, 2023, and will be released in two parts with six episodes a piece. While the first part of the season will be on the usual timeline, part two will see a jump in the future by about seven years. The first six episodes will follow Morgan and Madison on their quest to rescue Mo from PADRE. Seven years later will see Morgan and the rest of the island living under PADRE's rule.
season 1: is confirmed to take place a decade after the onset of the zombie apocalypse. This makes it mid-to-late 2020, concurrent with seasons 10 and 11 but long after any material from . The "" prelude from season 2 offers a rough idea of how long the Endlings' journey from Campus Colony to CRM Facility One takes and, therefore, how much time passes during season 1.
season 2: There's no jump between 's seasons, with the first bleeding directly into the second. season 2's premiere specifies a timeline of six weeks, but by the finale, that changes to "." That confirms season 2 lasts three or four weeks, bringing timeline up to date.
season 1: is an anthology show that takes place within the greater universe. Therefore, the show jumps time periods quite often. The first story, covering Evie and Joe, takes place over the course of 55 days in 2011, beginning with Joe's introduction and then his journey outside his bunker 50 days later. Blair and Gina's story doesn't follow a specific timeline, but it's suggested that its time loop is happening in 2010, at the beginning of the apocalypse.
and Lydia's tale is set in 2012, with Brooke claiming they had been living on the steamboat for over a year. Amy and Dr. Everett's story starts in 2020, which sees Dr. Everett after 10 years in isolation studying the walkers come across another survivor. Davon's tale begins in 2025 and takes place over the course of seven weeks when counting flashbacks. Eric, Idalia, and Doña Alma's story also takes place over an unspecified amount of time. All in all, the course of events in spans a 15-year period.
Now that timeline is officially over, there will be four more spinoff shows coming down the pipeline to fill the void. These new series don't have a specific timeline yet, but it's safe to assume that each one will pick up shortly after the events of 'sseries finale. The spinoffs in question will follow characters Rick, Michonne, Daryl, Maggie, and Negan.
The most recently confirmed exploring further tales from universe. Not much is known about this spinoff beyond the fact it's been confirmed and ordered. will be a 6 episode series, and the tales could - and likely will - take place at various points in the timeline past and present.
Premiering sometime in 2024, this six-part miniseries will finally show exactly what Rick Grimes was up to during his two-season absence from before showing up in its last episode. As of now, Rick and Michonne are still separated, and the former is being hunted down by the CRM. In the Walking Deadseries finale, Michonne vowed to find Rick at all costs, but it's doubtful that the show will start off with their reunion. Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne, co-created the spinoff and is a writer for the show, which promises to be an epic love story set against the iconic apocalyptic backdrop of theuniverse.
:Next on the upcoming spinoff list is , a Negan and Maggie-centric series, set to premiere in June 2023. will see the pair travel to Manhattan, where survivors have made their own world of anarchy and terror. It's unknown how Negan and Maggie will end up traveling together, given the pair's often hostile relationship. It's been confirmed that at a separate point in the timeline to and its season 8 time jump, which is bound to create confusion. It'll also be set several years after season 11 finale, meaning that Maggie and Negan's relationship could have changed since they were last seen.
: Fan-favorite original character Daryl Dixon is getting his own show, which will see the rugged antihero cross the Atlantic, and the spinoff will premiere sometime in late 2023. Set in an unknown time period, will take place in France, where the initial zombie outbreak occurred. Several casting announcements have been made, such as Clémence Poésy and Adam Nagaitis. It's also promised that there will be plenty of walkers hanging out around the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Considering that Daryl also went off to find Rick after 's seriesfinale, it's yet to be discovered exactly how and why he makes this detour to the birthplace of the walkers — or what atrocities he will uncover there.