As we head into Season 9 of The Walking Dead, years have passed since Rick Grimes woke up in a deserted hospital room and discovered a world overrun by zombies. Rick has gotten visibly older, Carl hit puberty, and even the undead have grown more decayed as time has passed. That being said, The Walking Dead has been on the air for nearly eight years now and even though the show hasn’t done a great job of signposting the passage of time, it’s clear that less time has passed in the show’s universe than in real life. Now, thanks to a post from The Walking Dead’s official Twitter account, we have a more accurate view of the show’s timeline.
— The Walking Dead on AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) September 11, 2018
The tweet shows two side-by-side photos of Rick – one with a clean-shaven, Season 1-era Rick (“Day 0”) and the second showing a stubbly, graying Rick (“Day 632”). The latter photo comes from the Season 8 episode “Dead or Alive Or,” in which Rick is captured by Jadis.
Sure, it’s pretty hard to believe that Carl went from a tween to late teens in just two years, but at least we know that the show is heading for a significant time jump in the near future. According to Tom Payne, who plays Jesus, Season 9 is set a year-and-a-half after the events of Season 8. “Everyone has to go back to basics,” he explained on an episode of Talking Dead last season. “Farmers are really useful, and Hilltop, that was their whole deal. They were growing stuff and tending the farm animals, and so that community is maybe doing better than other communities.”
If you’ve somehow managed to stick with The Walking Dead this long, the wait for Season 9 isn’t far off, as the season premiere airs on Oct. 7th.