The first time we see Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead, he’s a fresh-faced sheriff deputy… living in a lawless, zombie-filled world. He’s got some stubble by the time he’s in downtown Atlanta, but he doesn’t look like a guy who woke up from coma into a post-apocalyptic nightmare. That would soon change; by season five, Rick sports a “I’ve seen some shit and I don’t care anymore” beard.
It’s hard to tell how much time has passed on The Walking Dead, but there are some clues: expository dialogue about “months gone by,” pregnancies, and facial hair. The AMC zombie show’s official Twitter account recently used before-and-after photos of Rick Grimes to confirm the official timeline. “Day 0 of the apocalypse vs Day 632,” the tweet reads, with clean-shaven Rick as “you” and sweaty, stubbly Rick as “the guy she tells you not to worry about.” (The image comes from the season eight episode where Rick is captured by Jadis.)
The number will quickly increase to over 1,000 days when The Walking Dead returns in October. Tom Payne, who plays Jesus, confirmed that the new season takes place a year-and-a-half after the events of season eight. “Everyone has to go back to basics,” he said. “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.”
At least the show won’t have to worry about Carl aging anymore.