'Walking Dead' Creator Reveals a Big Difference Between the Comics and Show

AMC’s The Walking Dead may be based on Robert Kirkman’s comics, but it doesn’t always follow the source materials exact story or timeline. So fans have often wondered when exactly the show takes place within Walking Dead lore, and during the Season 9 winter break, Kirkman himself chimed in to reveal how much time has passed in his post-apocalypse world since the comic first began.

In Letter Hacks, a back of the issue column, Kirkman offered an answer, revealing how the timelines for the comics and AMC series have diverged. The column, which was published in issue #187 (via ComicBook), offers some new insight into the Walking Dead universe.

“In my mind it’s been longer than five years since the comic started,” Kirkman writes. “I don’t like to pin things down officially, but the first 12 issues alone could have been a year.”

However, Senior Vice-President/Editor-in-Chief of Skybound Entertainment Sean Mackiewicz disagrees.

“If you follow the seasons, the bad stuff started happening later summer/early fall,” he writes, “and we’re nearing the end of winter by #12. My secret timeline document knows all.”

The Walking Dead Whisperers
The Whisperers, as they appear in 'The Walking Dead' comic books.

This means that the entire comics’ timeline (over 187 issues), could fit in one of the time jumps in one episode of the show (which, so far, has 123 episodes).

In The Walking Dead Season 9, six years passed off-screen between Anne whisking Rick away to have his injuries treated (leaving his friends and family to think he’s dead) and an older Judith saving Magna and her group of survivors from walkers in Episode 5.

However, significantly less time passed from when we first met Rick, just before the beginning of the apocalypse on the show, and the end of Season 8. A post on the show’s official Twitter account in September 2018 revealed that it had been 632 days, making it less than two years.

Even with the 18-month time jump at the beginning of Season 9, that meant it had still been less than four years between Rick’s first and last appearances. That’s a bit more in line with how much time has passed in the comics.

The Walking Dead Season 9 continues on February 10 at 9 p.m. on AMC.


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Media via Skybound, AMC