When The Ones Who Live Takes Place In The Walking Dead’s Timeline

By Kyle McLeod Published 8 hours ago

The Ones Who Live follows Rick and Michonne returning to the franchise after their Walking Dead departures, but the spinoff’s timeline is complicated.

When The Ones Who Live Takes Place In The Walking Dead's Timeline


  • The Ones Who Live takes place 10 years after Rick's disappearance on The Walking Dead, despite him only being absent for a few seasons.
  • The spinoff provides a clear timeline by starting five years after the bridge incident and before Michonne leaves to find Rick.
  • The Ones Who Live jumps to 10 years after the outbreak began and shows Rick's attempts to escape the Civic Republic, ultimately leading to his decision to protect an innocent girl instead of escaping.


Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode 1 of The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.Rick and Michonne finally returned to The Walking Dead franchise in The Ones Who Live, but the spinoff's timeline is completely different from the main show. The Walking Dead's timeline had significant skips between seasons, but it took its biggest jump after Rick departed the series. While there were frequent skips of a few months and sometimes over a year, season 9 contained a six-year jump, meaning The Ones Who Live had a long timeline it could fit into. Rick's disappearance happened in 2013 in the show's timeline, with The Walking Dead season 11 finale seemingly taking place in 2023.

This means there have been 10 years between Rick disappearing and the show's finale, despite the character only being absent for the better part of three seasons. The Walking Dead's timeline is complicated due to all the time skips which last different durations, but most of Rick's involvement takes place within the first few years of the apocalypse, and the significant time skips happen after his near-death incident. Therefore, The Ones Who Live had the tough task of explaining what Rick Grimes has been doing for around a decade, but episode 1 already provides the spinoff with a clearer timeline.

The Ones Who Lives airs Sundays on AMC and AMC+.

The Ones Who Live Begins 5 Years After Rick's Walking Dead Disappearance

The Ones Who Live begins five years after the bridge, with some text clearly explaining this. Given the confusing nature of Rick's story after the bridge, providing a clear timeline was important, and the spinoff does this by giving some much-needed context. Not only does the show start after the incident in season 9 but interestingly, The Ones Who Lives seems to pick up before Michonne leaves to find Rick. Michonne's search for Rick happened six years after the bridge, meaning Rick's escape attempt that resulted in him losing his hand happened before Michonne left Alexandria.

Even after being in the Civic Republic for five years, Rick still seemed desperate to leave. A year passed between the show's beginning and Okafor's secret meeting with Rick and Thorne. By this point, The Ones Who Live revealed Rick now had a role in the CRM, but this was all an elaborate attempt to have a better chance at escaping. After five years of trying to find a way out of the community, Rick decided to play a longer game by enlisting in the CRM and earning Okafor's trust, leading to years of training for another escape opportunity.

The Ones Who Live Episode 1 Jumps To 10 Years After The Outbreak

When The Ones Who Live Takes Place In The Walking Dead's Timeline

While The Ones Who Live starts five years after the bridge incident, the show jumps to 10 years after the outbreak began, which is when the spinoff's first scene actually happens. Having trained with the CRM for several years, Rick attempts to escape once again. This plan is almost successful, but Rick's morality doesn't allow an innocent girl to be collateral damage in his escape attempt and aborts his plan, choosing to protect the girl instead. Thorne witnesses the incident and chooses not to report what happened to their superiors, but Rick does confront Okafor, wondering what he knows.

When Rick returns to his dorm, he finds out about the Omaha branch of the Civic Republic being destroyed. The Walking Dead: World Beyond showed that it was the CRM that wiped out Omaha and is one of several World Beyond reveals that impact The Ones Who Live. With World Beyond taking place a decade into the apocalypse, it adds clarity to The Ones Who Live's timeline. This scene helps establish the protagonist's journey within the CR, as Rick resisted the CRM for years and tried to escape, before seemingly giving up around 10 years into the apocalypse.

Does The Ones Who Live Take Place After The Walking Dead's Ending?


Episode 1 of The Ones Who Live ends in the present day, but it isn't exactly clear when that is. The word "now" shows up on the screen, indicating this will likely be where the remainder of the series builds from. While there is no exact reference to when this scene takes place regarding the franchise's timeline, Okafor suggests that Rick has been training for years and claims "It has been a good year." This would indicate that several more years have passed since Rick and Okafor's confrontation, putting the spinoff on a similar timeline to the main show.

The Walking Dead's flashforward ending takes place roughly 13 years into the apocalypse, which could be when the ending of The Ones Who Live episode 1 takes place. The franchise rarely mentions exact dates or years, but given Rick and Okafor's conversation was after the Omaha attacks, it would suggest the spinoff is set at a similar time to the main show's ending. The lack of overlap with the main show or spinoffs makes the exact timeline unclear, but The Ones Who Live seems to take place alongside the other ongoing shows in the franchise.

Episode #

Episode Title

Release Date



February 25



March 3



March 10



March 17



March 24



March 31

Release Date February 25, 2024 Cast Andrew Lincoln , Danai Gurira , Pollyanna McIntosh , Lesley-Ann Brandt , Terry O'Quinn Seasons 1 Writers Scott M. Gimple , Danai Gurira Network AMC Streaming Service(s) AMC+ Franchise(s) The Walking Dead Showrunner Scott M. Gimple

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