Let’s admit it: the Ninjago timeline is pretty confusing. It presents numerous plot holes and raises questions: like how old are the Ninja? What is Lloyd’s age and how many years have elapsed throughout the show? When did the FSM die? And how old are Wu and Garmadon???
These questions and more will (hopefully) be answered in this post.
After carefully thinking through this topic, I have decided to split this into eight parts:
The Age of Ninjago
The First Spinjitzu Master’s Age
Wu, Garmadon, and Misako’s Ages
The Ninja’s Ages
How Much Time Has Passed Between Seasons?
The Big Picture
-I am working out what age the Ninja are “now.” By “now” I mean their age during Hands of Time. This is because when Wu and Garmadon banish Krux and Acronix to the time portal, they look up and see 40 years into the future. So sometime in that period the Ninja were born, and the series began. Thus, we must agree on a common average age for the Ninja when the show started, add on the time that passed between seasons, and then subtract that to get when they were born.
-I am measuring time in “Garmadon” time. This means that my timeline centers mostly around Garmadon and Wu. Not to worry, I will also include Ninjago’s actual age.
-I am also measuring time in “Kai” time. I believe Kai is right in between the Ninja, with Cole being the oldest (Zane excluded) and Jay the youngest. So when I say “Ninja” I really mean Kai.
-Although I list ranges of ages, I will almost always be assuming the youngest age and theorizing from there.
With that out of the way, let’s get started!
-The First Spinjitzu Master creates Ninjago and Ninjago is split in two after a battle between Light and Darkness. The Realm Crystal and Serpentine are created. Other people are formed, or they migrate from other realms. The FSM endows people with Elemental powers.
-The FSM has sons. Garmadon is bitten as a young child. The FSM dies.
-Around 40 years before the Hands of Time season: Garmadon leaves the monastery, trains under Chen and sends the letter to Misako. Wu teaches Morro, but Morro later leaves and dies in his search for the FSM’s tomb.
-The Serpentine War begins
-The Hands of Time rebel and are lost in time.
-The Ninja are born.
-Lloyd is born, and Garmadon is fully corrupted. He is then banished to the Underworld after attempting to take the Golden Weapons.
-The shows begins.
-The Hands of Time season occurs.
So far, this timeline appears to make sense. But where do the pirates fit in? And how old are Wu and Garmadon??? Are they really thousands of years old (as most believe) or could Ninjago itself actually be a younger realm?
The Age of Ninjago
So there’s really only two ways to think about Ninjago’s age. Either Ninjago is extremely old, or it is actually younger than it appears.
Garmadon and Wu are crucial factors in aging Ninjago. If Ninjago were actually ancient (say thousands of years), then Garmadon and Wu would have to be incredibly old too. Because they are the sons of the First Spinjitzu Master, this theory makes sense. We could also assume that Lloyd inherited this slow-aging capability. However, this argument fails when Misako is introduced. There is NO way to explain how Misako is still alive!
The only other option is that Ninjago is not old but rather only about 100 years or younger. This would explain how Misako is still alive, but it does not really account for the number of people in Ninjago. If Ninjago were older, there would be time for population growth. However, if it is 100 years or less, then the people inhabiting Ninjago must have moved from another realm, or they have been created by the FSM. Because this theory appears more logical, I hold this view.
How Much Time Has Passed Between The Seasons?
To determine people’s ages and the age of the Ninja now, it’s important to figure out how much time has passed during the show itself. If we do that, we can count backwards to determine ages.
Here’s a drawing of my estimates for the time between seasons.
The time between Rise of the Snakes (Season 1) and Legacy of the Green Ninja (Season 2) is probably no more than 6 months. Nothing transpires that indicates an extended period of time.
The time between Season 2 and Rebooted (Seasons 3) is at least 1-2 years. An entire city has been rebuilt and upgraded! Normally it takes at least 10 years to build a huge city, but this is Ninjago, so that logic goes out the window XD.
It must have been 6 months or less between Rebooted and Tournament (Season 4). If it had been longer, the Ninja would probably have split up sooner, and their splitting up would have already been very obvious to Sensei Wu, but the dissolving of the Ninja team seemed to only become evident to Sensei at the beginning of The Invitation. Thus, it must have only just begun.
The time between Tournament and Possession (Season 5) must have also been short, about 6 months. The reason for this is Lloyd. If it had been longer, say about a year, Lloyd would probably have been showing fewer signs of mourning. In the beginning of Winds of Change, Lloyd reveals to Kai that he still misses his dad. I understand that it is normal to miss someone close to you, but after a while, the ache becomes less and you’ve accepted their death. Therefore, I propose that 6 months or less have passed.
Due to the fact that all the events in Skybound (Season 6) were erased because of Jay’s wish, I chose to leave it out.
Because Lloyd appears to have no symptoms whatsoever from being possessed, I believe at least 1-1 1/2 years have elapsed. After the events of Possession, Lloyd most likely had nightmares, developed an unhealthy paranoia, and (possibly) needed therapy. Think about it. Lloyd had someone living in his mind and taking over his body for at least a week!!! I’d think that fact alone would be pretty scarring! Plus, this ghost was bent on killing his friends and cursing the other 16 Realms! Lloyd was probably able to view and hear Morro’s thoughts as well as his own, and Morro’s must have been terrifying!
It is canon that 1 year has passed between Hands of Time and Sons of Garmadon, as stated in this Season 8: New Clip – Review. Cole reports that they’ve been searching for Wu for a year. As soon as Wu went missing, the Ninja (I assume) started searching for him right away.
Overall, when we count up the time, we get that 4.5-6 years have passed during the show. Wow! I never realized it until now, but after Sons of Garmadon airs, we will have 85 episodes of Ninjago and counting!!!
The First Spinjitzu Master’s Age
It is generally thought that the First Spinjitzu Master died old. But if we take the second theory, then the FSM must have actually died young. In the flashbacks of Garmadon leaving and Wu teaching Morro, Garmadon and Wu are both young. These events transpire directly after the FSM’s death. If the FSM died, for example, at 80, then in order for Wu and Garmadon to be about 20 at that time, he had kids at around 60. That’s very unlikely. So he probably died around 50-60 at the latest, which would mean he had kids at 30-40. When he died Wu and Garmadon would be around 18-20, which matches up with the flashbacks and the rest of the timeline.
Most hold that the FSM was around 20 or so when he created Ninjago. A flashback is shown of him in The Stone Army, and he looks pretty young in it. Then again, he also looks like a generic Lego character, so it’s hard to tell.
If my idea is correct, he created Ninjago around 20, settled down, had kids at 30-40, then died when Wu and Garmadon were 18-20.
Wu, Garmadon, and Misako’s Ages
So the FSM either had (or created) his children around 30 or 40. Wu and Garmadon were each endowed with elemental powers. Wu’s was Creation (all four main elements in harmony), and Garmadon’s was Destruction (all four main elements in disharmony).
When Garmadon and Wu were 18-20, the FSM died, and they each went their separate ways. Morro and the Serpentine War happened over the course of two years, and then the Hands of Time occurred. The Ninja were born, the show began, and the Hands of Time returned, all in 40 years. I theorize that the Ninja are at least 18. If so, then Garmadon’s age is 61 (explained in below timeline). With what we’ve seen in the show, this appears pretty accurate. The brothers are grey-haired, and Wu has an incredibly long beard. Misako’s age is also probably close to that estimate. We are unfortunately never told exactly how far apart Wu and Garmadon are, but it’s probably close since they both liked the same girl. I think that Wu is 2-4 years younger than Garmadon. I’m going to go with 3.
Later on, we’re going to see how old Garmadon was when he had Lloyd. It’s a pretty old age, so if we make Misako a little younger, it will perhaps make it easier to fathom. Therefore, I speculate that Misako is currently 59, Wu is 58, and Garmadon is 61.
The Ninja’s Ages
According to an official source, the Ninja are, “Whatever age you want them to be.”
Well…there’s got to be a reasonable age that most fans can agree on, right?
Since Zane is a robot, he could be any age, but cannot be any older than his creator. The same goes for the rest of the Ninja, they cannot be any older than their parents.
The Ninja are definitely teenagers, and they can drive. In the Lego Ninjago Movie, they are presented as teenagers, but since the movie differs from the show, this can’t really be considered accurate.
The Ninja appear to be adults, because they do not go to school, and because their parents do not seem to be making legal decisions for them. If the parents were still legally in charge of the Ninja, I’m sure they would have chosen to stop them from going into battle once they found out. For instance, Cole. If Cole’s father were still in charge of Cole, he would have had the power to stop Cole from being a Ninja. Also, Cole has supposedly been “sent away” to the Marty Oppenheimer School of Performing Arts, which could be either a performing arts school (for high schoolers) or a college. I assume it’s probably a college level school because Cole was able to drop out without his father knowing. If a minor stopped attending their boarding school, the parent would most likely be alerted to their child’s absence.
This begs the question: What is the legal driving age in Ninjago and what age do you have to be in order to legally be considered an adult?
After a quick Google search, I discovered that the legal driving age in most countries is 16. Learning permits are allowed at 15 and licenses at 16. The age of consensus, or adulthood, is often 18.
The jobs that they take up in Darkness Shall Rise provides more evidence for the Ninja as adults. Cole is a security guard, Zane is a chef, Kai is an entertainer, and Jay is a pizza delivery boy. Kai and Jay could easily be hired at 16-17, but Cole and Zane’s jobs show that they are probably at least 18+. Being a sushi chef, Zane would have to have the knowledge of how to prepare the food correctly and not kill someone, so he’d have to appear at least 18. As for Cole, no bank in its right mind would hire a 16 year old as a security guard! Also, Kirby Morrow, Cole’s voice actor, has actually stated, “Cole is 14.” Obviously, Cole cannot be 14 because if a bank will not hire a 16 year old, why in the world would they hire a 14 year old?!
So, my final consensus is that Cole is (probably) the oldest and at least 18, probably 20-24. He appears more mature and is the appointed leader of the Ninja team before Lloyd takes over. Cole also used to be in the Marty Oppenheimer School of Performing Arts, which is most likely for graduated high schoolers. Because Jay is more immature than the others, I think Jay is the youngest, around 18-20. Kai is 22-23, and Nya is two years younger than him. Since Zane is a Nindroid and thus does not visibly age, he could be anywhere from 20-60.
Lloyd is also a very important component in determining Ninjago’s age. Lloyd looks to be about 8-12 in Rise of the Snakes. In order to determine Garmadon’s age when he had Lloyd, let’s take the age Garmadon was when the FSM died, add 2 years for Morro and the Serpentine War, 40 years for the Hands of Time and the show, then subtract Lloyd’s age to get the age Garmadon was when he had Lloyd. If we put Garmadon at 18, his youngest possible age for when the FSM died, and Lloyd at the oldest possible age during Rise of the Snakes, we get that Garmadon was 48. That’s pretty old, but it’s the best we can get with this theory.
If Lloyd was twelve during the events of the 1st season, how old did he become after Child’s Play? He became at least the age of the Ninja, maybe even older since he begins to really take charge during the Tournament of Elements. However, that could also be because he is the Green Ninja and their destined leader.
Thus, Lloyd appears to be 18-23 like the rest, but is actually 16.
The Big Picture
Okay..so after all this theorizing a timeline has emerged..but it’s kinda scattered. Let’s summarize.
Yellow is for the FSM’s age, blue is for Garmadon, red is for the Ninja, and green is for Lloyd. I am using the average Ninja age, which would be 18. So they were 18 when the show started and 22 now. because 4 years have passed in the show.
When the FSM was about 20, he created Ninjago. At this time, I believe the pirates migrated to Ninjago, or they were created by the FSM and then went rogue. It could also be that they existed in Ninjago before the FSM formed Ninjago. It wasn’t like there was nothing in Ninjago before the FSM came along. After all, he had to get the gold for the Golden Weapons somewhere: the Golden Peaks, which were not created by him, but already existed.
When the FSM was 30, he had Garmadon, and 2 years later, Wu. When Garmadon was 18, the FSM died at 48. Wu and Garmadon went their separate ways, with Wu training Morro and Garmadon training under Chen. Tension built over the course of two years and the Serpentine War resulted. At 20, Wu and Garmadon joined together for the SW and then defeated the Hands of Time. Garmadon married Misako, and a time of peace took place. When Garmadon was 38, the Ninja were born. At 44, Lloyd was born, and the Battle Between Brothers resulted as the Great Devourer venom took over Garmadon. The Ninja were about 6 years old.
The show begins. Garmadon is 56, the Ninja are 18, and Lloyd is 12. During the show, 4 years pass, and the Hands of Time resurface. Now, Garmadon is 60, the Ninja are 22, and Lloyd is 16. However, because of the Tomorrow’s Tea, he looks older. After Hands of Time before Sons of Garmadon, it is stated that a year has passed since Wu’s disappearance. This means that currently, Garmadon is 61, Wu is 57-59, Kai is 23, Nya is 21, Jay is 22, Cole is 24, and Lloyd is 17. Zane is undetermined.
So..the final question remains…how old is Ninjago itself? If Garmadon is 61, then all we have to do is add the time after Ninjago was created but before Garmadon was born to Garmadon’s current age. Well…the numbers say that Ninjago is only 71 years old in Sons of Garmadon.
What do you think about Ninjago’s and its character’s ages? Do you believe Theory #1 or #2? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Season 8 New Clip – Review by Alyce
How old is everyone? by AnnaArt12
Ninjago Timeline: (My theory/version) by Piplup88908