Just How Old Is Carl Supposed To Be On ‘The Walking Dead’ Anyway?

We don’t know exactly how much time has passed on The Walking Dead, but we can make a rough estimate based on the timeline of events. Up through season five, about a year and a half had transpired, although — as of seven seven — it’s closing in on two years. (Interestingly, exposed to the open air, it takes about three years for a dead body to completely decompose, so at this rate, the majority of the world’s population who turned during the initial weeks of the outbreak will have completely decomposed by the 10th season).

In two years, Carl Grimes has had quite a growth spurt.

Maybe the zombie apocalypse just really ages kids? Except for the fact that in under two years, baby Judith hasn’t aged at an unnaturally fast rate.

Clearly, where it concerns Carl Grimes, viewers are just meant to suspend our disbelief. After all, when the series began, Chandler Riggs was 9 years old, and now the actor is making plans to go to college.

In the comics, it’s something of a different story. In issue #5, it was actually specifically stated that Carl was 7 years old, and more time has passed now in the comics, but Carl is still only 13 years old or so.

As we can see from the comics, Carl has aged a lot, and looks very old for a 13 year old, which means that in the series — based on his aging patterns from the comics — he actually could be 11 and look 13 or 14.

In the letter hacks of this month’s issue of The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman and editor Sean Mackiewicz took up that exact question, although the answer they gave was not that satisfactory, because Mackiewics and Kirkman actually disagree on Carl’s age themselves.

“Robert and I disagree on many things, but maybe none more so than Carl’s age,” Mackiewicz wrote. “The irony there is that I know Carl is 7 [at the outset of the comics], like you all do, because Robert wrote he was 7 in issue 5. So long as Carl never says how old he is post-time jump [after issue #127], you can just ignore what we say in the letter pages as made up sh*t. (Except for everything I just wrote.)”

“Officially, the time jump between 126 and 127 is not tied down to a specific number of years,” Kirkman added. “It seems like around two, but could have been more.”

In that case, Carl would be 13 in the comics, and as the series hasn’t arrived at the time jump yet, he’d be closer to 11 in the television series.

However, Kirkman did have one concluding thought, “It’s totally possible that Carl has aged five years since the beginning of the series. Kids age fast!”

In other words, in the television series, Carl Grimes is a very old looking 11 to 12 year old who will hopefully never grow out of his love for pudding.