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The Walking Dead: Here Is The Correct Order In Which To Watch The Franchise

Undoubtedly, "The Walking Dead" has become a cultural phenomenon over the last decade or so. The show brought something new to the table concerning zombie media. It found a delicate balance of endearing the characters to fans while reminding them that no one is safe in the post-apocalyptic world. The series became known for its fixation on the dangers of the people who were strong enough to survive and its willingness to kill off anyone, even fan favorites like Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun).

Many horror fans who typically didn't enjoy zombie media and non-horror watchers alike were drawn into the gory and brutal world of "TWD." Although its peak popularity has died off by now, especially after the series' conclusion in 2022 with the wrap of Season 11, the popularity of "TWD" spawned multiple spin-offs.

Currently, there are four canon shows that have either wrapped or are still ongoing. These include "The Walking Dead," "Fear the Walking Dead," "The Walking Dead: World Beyond," and "Tales of the Walking Dead." There are three more series scheduled for release in 2023 and 2024. While you can, in part, get ready for these shows by watching the first few seasons of "The Walking Dead" in order and then moving on to "Fear the Walking Dead" before returning to the original series, it can be overwhelming in general to keep up with the franchise when watching in order of release. And that isn't even considering the option to follow the franchise's in-universe chronology.

Watching The Walking Dead franchise in order of release

The simplest way to watch "The Walking Dead" is by consuming the media in order of when it was released. This is a natural way that the series creators intended the media to be consumed, but it can be a little confusing to know when these series originally aired, especially with the flagship series now over.

In order to watch "The Walking Dead" in order of release, viewers will want to start with the first five seasons of "The Walking Dead." After the conclusion of Season 5, the first season of "Fear the Walking Dead" premiered on AMC. From there, the two seasons interchange consistently for several years, so after Season 1 of "Fear the Walking Dead," fans should look into Season 6 of "TWD," then Season 2 of "Fear," Season 7 of "TWD", and Season 3 of "Fear." This pattern stays consistent until the end of "Fear" Season 5. 

After "Fear" Season 5, fans will want to watch the first 16 episodes of "The Walking Dead" Season 10 and then return to "Fear the Walking Dead" for Season 6. Viewers can then return to finish Season 10 of the original show.

With the introduction of World Beyond, the release order gets more confusing

After the ending of "The Walking Dead" Season 10, the watch order gets a bit more confusing because each stretch of episodes is cut off by or overlaps another show. After "The Walking Dead" Season 10, a new spin-off called "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" premiered as a limited series that would run for two seasons. After the introduction of a new spin-off, fans will return to "TWD" for the first eight episodes of Season 11.

"World Beyond" returns for a second season, quickly followed by Season 7 of "Fear the Walking Dead." Fans will watch the first eight episodes of this before returning to the original series for Episodes 9 to 16 of the final season. Head back over to "Fear" Season 7 for Episodes 9 to 16. This is probably the most confusing portion of the watch order because all three of these series were overlapping one another's release schedules. Fans should watch them at their leisure rather than try to be extremely specific.

A new series is introduced at the conclusion of "Fear" Season 7. Fans will watch the premier season of "Tales of the Walking Dead" before finally returning to the final portion of "TWD" Season 11.

Fans can also watch in chronological order of the franchise's timeline

The chronological timeline of "The Walking Dead" franchise seems a bit more daunting of a task due to the overlapping storylines and the stellar number of hours of content within the franchise. With more series on the horizon, though, there's no better time than now to catch up. In order to watch the franchise in the chronological order of its timeline, fans will want to start with "Fear the Walking Dead" Seasons 1 to 3. That series was initially meant to act as a prequel to the flagship show, and the 1st season actually shows the beginning stages of the outbreak and how people tried to escape it early on.

After that, fans can hop over to "The Walking Dead" and watch the solid block of Seasons 1 through 8. "Fear" Season 4 is next, followed by the relatively new spin-off, "Tales of the Walking Dead." "Tales" premiered in 2022, making it the newest spin-off currently available.

Jump back over to "TWD" for Season 9, follow that up with "Fear" Season 5, and then back to "TWD" Season 10. After Season 10, viewers can divert to another spin-off, "The Walking Dead: World Beyond." This limited series has two seasons, and viewers will want to watch both seasons before continuing. "World Beyond" introduced Jadis, a.k.a. Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh), who also appears in 24 episodes of "TWD."

After "World Beyond," fans will return to "The Walking Dead" for Season 11, and then "Fear the Walking Dead" Seasons 6 and 7. "Fear" is also scheduled for its 8th and final season.

Several more spin-offs are arriving soon

Although the flagship series "The Walking Dead" has ended and its first spin-off (and second longest-running) show, "Fear the Walking Dead" is going into its final season, the franchise is far from done.

Answers about whether or not "Tales of the Walking Dead" will be getting a 2nd season are still up in the air. Scott M. Gimple, executive producer and "Walking Dead" franchise chief content officer, told Collider that he hopes they'll be able to bring "Tales" back. Even if "Tales" doesn't get another season, though, there's still plenty of content for fans to look forward to.

In 2023, two new series will be premiering. In June, fans will get "The Walking Dead: Dead City" and later on in the year, "The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon" will also be released. A third new series will be filmed in 2023 and released in 2024, "The Walking Dead: Rick and Michonne." While not much is known about the specifics of these series, as some of the names suggest, they will follow some of the most popular main characters from the flagship series, so fans can look forward to watching how their stories continue after the end of "TWD."

"Dead City" will focus on Maggie Greene's (Lauren Cohan) and Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) next venture together. "Daryl Dixon" will obviously follow Daryl (Norman Reedus) and "Rick and Michonne" will accompany the titular couple (Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira) into their next chapter. All three of these shows will reportedly take place after the conclusion of "The Walking Dead."

Where to watch all the Walking Dead shows

So how can you check out every single "Walking Dead" property? The original "Walking Dead" is available on Netflix — though it's not available for the ad-supported plans thanks to some licensing. Seven seasons of "Fear the Walking Dead" are available on both AMC+, the original channel's streamer, as well as Max, and you can watch it on other services like Prime if you get your AMC+ or Max subscription as part of any sort of package deal.

"The Walking Dead: The World Beyond" is also available on AMC+, as is "Tales of the Walking Dead." In fact, AMC+ has a robust selection of "Walking Dead" related extras, like collections that focus on Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) and Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan). "The Walking Dead: Dead City" is there too, and the brand new spin-off centered around Norman Reedus' character, "Daryl Dixon," is currently airing its first season on the proprietary streamer as well.