Walking Dead Wiki

Attention! Please be aware that spoilers are not allowed on the wiki and a violation of this policy may result in a ban. Information (character deaths/fates, screenshots, etc.) from episodes released early on AMC+ may not be added to the wiki until the episode officially airs at 9pm EST on the Sunday it is scheduled for. Thank you.


Walking Dead Wiki
Walking Dead Wiki
This article is about the TV Universe settlement. You may be looking for the Comic Series counterpart.

The Sanctuary. My life has been shit ever since I set foot in there. So I don't know if it's you, you know, or the universe that's playing some sick joke on me, but I'm not going in there... not for you, not for anyone.

The Sanctuary was a secured facility in AMC's TV Universe, located in Virginia. Originally a factory, it served as the base of operations for the Saviors, a violent group of extortionists that seized and terrorized various communities to provide for them. The Saviors were formerly ruled by Negan Smith. Their sadistic nature led the communities of the Alexandria, Hilltop, Kingdom, and Oceanside to form the Militia and declare war against the Saviors' rule. The Militia was victorious, with Negan sentenced to life in prison and the surviving Saviors forced to surrender.

After the war, Daryl Dixon took over leadership of the Sanctuary for eighteen months before resigning. It was led by Carol Peletier for a time before Oceanside's retaliation caused a split in the communities again. Several months later, the Sanctuary fell, with the surviving Saviors either joining the other communities, Jed's group of raiders, or taking off on their own.[1] When Negan returned eight years after the war following his escape from prison, the Sanctuary was abandoned and left in ruins. It was later briefly used as a refuge by the residents of the Kingdom during a massive blizzard. The Sanctuary, along with the Kingdom, was one of the few communities not rebuilt.

Within the next few years, the Sanctuary was reoccupied by a small group of bandits who used the old factory as their base. However, by this time, the old factory was dilapidated and unstable. In 2022, during a conflict with Dwight, Sherry, June Dorie and Dove, an attack by a large herd caused the Sanctuary to collapse, bringing about its final destruction. Following the destruction of PADRE, Dwight and Sherry intend rebuild the Sanctuary into a community worthy of its name; however, the Sanctuary was still left abandoned and destroyed several years later when the Croat went to search for Negan.


Nothing is known about the Sanctuary before or as the outbreak began, except that it was a factory.


In 2011, The Sanctuary was initially occupied by a struggling survivor group and inhabited by Simon, Dwight, Sherry, Tina, Gordon, Maria, Arat, Justin, and dozens of others. As communities in Virginia became more prominent, the leader started a joint-network based on intimidation and extortion. Upon finding a new community, the group would kill one member, take half of their belongings; and demand a recurring tribute in the form of food, weapons, medicine, supplies, and other amenities. Failure to produce enough for the agreed upon amount would result in execution or imprisonment of members in the community. With an abundance of supplies, the group was able to branch out into multiple outposts; including the Shephard Office Plaza, Chemical Plant, and Satellite Facility. One of the communities, Hollowbrant Outreach Recovery, attempted to fight back by attacking the satellite facility, not realizing it was merely an outpost. The community lost and Simon rounded up all the male survivors over the age of ten and executed them. The Hollowbrant group fled and relocated to Oceanside Cabin Motor Court where they remained in hiding.

Another group led by a man named Negan Smith found the factory, took out their leader through a mutiny, and merged to form The Saviors - based on the high school team mascot Negan coached for before the outbreak. Negan began a point class system within The Saviors. The more an individual provided, the more points they had, and thus more privileges and better treatment. Most of The Saviors were workers confined to squalor and forced to hard labor, but highly valued members were allowed private quarters, amenities, and first claim to their spoils. Negan also implemented a marriage system. Women of the community who agreed to marry him received privileges for themselves and their families. However, once married - they could never be seen with their husbands, boyfriends, or any other suitors. Those caught with his wives were sentenced to having their face burned by a hot iron. Negan continued the extortion of other communities, as their justification for obtaining most of their supplies was receiving tribute for their service of keeping the communities safe from the undead and other hostile survivors. The Saviors occupied multiple communities including Viskocil Public Library, Hilltop Colony, and The Kingdom.

At some point, a man named The Croat came to The Saviors completely broken after his family was cannibalized by another group. Negan took him in and befriended the Croat, keeping him from committing suicide. The two became close friends, with the Croat coming to call Negan "buraz", meaning "brother." The Croat became one of the first Saviors and displayed a talent for reading people, toying with them and pulling them apart, causing Negan to utilize his talents as a torturer for his enemies. However, Negan realized that the Croat was a monster when he brutally tortured and murdered a young girl against Negan's direct orders, someone who Negan believed to be just a drifter but who claimed under torture to actually be a scout for the Kingdom. As a result, Negan realized that the Croat was a rogue sadist. Negan tried to shoot his former friend, but missed and only blew off the Croat's right ear. The Croat escaped with his life and eventually moved to Manhattan where he would create his own twisted version of the Saviors.

Some of the communities were not able to sustain the unequal distribution of goods and constant threats by The Saviors. By 2012, Hilltop resident Paul "Jesus" Rovia found The Kingdom and met with their leader, King Ezekiel Sutton, and developed a relationship of trade and support. In February 2012, Negan proposed to resident Tina, a young girl with diabetes, in exchange for insulin. Her sister, Sherry, and brother-in-law, Dwight, stole the insulin and escaped The Sanctuary in order to be free of Negan and The Saviors. Negan ordered his men to find and recapture the three.

The Sanctuary is surrounded by a chain-link fence, along with impaled walkers around the perimeter for added security. Enslaved survivors handle the dangerous task of putting these zombies in place. It appears that Sanctuary residents who die are reincorporated as walkers on the fence. When Eugene Porter became the Saviors' Chief Engineer, the walkers had molten iron poured over their heads to become indestructible.

After the Militia is formed, Rick Grimes leads an attack force against the Sanctuary. Even with makeshift barricades, attached to their cars, the Militia is no match for the Savior force at the Sanctuary. To counter this, they shoot out all of the windows, blow up an RV in front of the gate and lure a massive walker herd to it. As the Militia flees, the outside of the Sanctuary is overrun by the walkers.

Following an attack by Daryl and Tara that allows walkers to flood the Sanctuary, Eugene comes up with a plan that enables the Saviors to clear the Sanctuary of walkers and lead the rest of the herd away. With the Sanctuary now back under their full control, the Saviors launch a counterattack against the Militia.

Following the siege, the Saviors are stated to have expended much of their ammunition reserves to clear out the Sanctuary of walkers, forcing them to open the Bullet Factory Outpost to compensate. The Saviors also quickly repair the fences and once more set walkers up on them for protection. Following the death of Simon, he is chained to the fence with the other walkers.

After the defeat of the Saviors, the walkers are removed from the fence and presumably killed. The Sanctuary becomes open to the other communities who begin working together to rebuild. Most of the Saviors who defected to the Militia's side choose to return to Sanctuary, but Alden decides to remain at the Hilltop. Negan is taken to the Alexandria Safe Zone as a prisoner and Daryl eventually takes over as the leader of the Sanctuary.

Eighteen months later, Daryl continues to reluctantly lead the Sanctuary with the help of Eugene and Jerry. However, things have begun to go bad despite continued supply runs from Alexandria. The crops have begun dying and people have begun painting "Saviors save us. We're still Negan" upon the walls. Rick later tells Maggie that "the Sanctuary is barely holding on" and desperately needs their help.

Six years after Rick's apparent death, the Sanctuary has gone "bust" according to Jed and the Saviors are disbanded. Several of the remaining Saviors such as Laura and D.J. have joined other communities, particularly Alexandria. Jed and Regina lead a group of around at least seven Savior Marauders that have become rough raiders before they are killed by Carol following a confrontation with her and Henry, ending the Saviors permanently. Its later confirmed that Alexandria opened its doors to the Sanctuary residents when it fell, meaning that many presumably relocated there. Furthermore, during the flashbacks in "Scars", Frankie and several Saviors are shown living in Alexandria during Michonne's pregnancy with R.J., indicating that the Sanctuary had fallen or began to fall apart in the months following the bridge's destruction in "What Comes After".

After escaping from Alexandria, Negan returns to the Sanctuary which is now completely abandoned. The courtyard is overgrown with weeds while the main room has various pieces of furniture scattered around and pools of standing water. Negan attempts to live alone in the Sanctuary for a short time, but realizes that there is no longer anything there for him after putting down a small group of walkers. Negan puts down Richie, a zombified Savior that had remained on the grounds and then abandons the Sanctuary for good, leaving on a motorcycle he retrieves from a hidden room and returning to Alexandria.

After the Kingdom falls, Michonne decides that the Kingdommers must take shelter from a massive blizzard in the Sanctuary, the only place close enough. However, while the group hunkers down, Michonne and Ezekiel recognize that they don't have enough supplies to wait out the storm in the Sanctuary. The group eventually leaves to reach the Hilltop by crossing through the Whisperers territory. After returning to Alexandria, Michonne comments to Negan that the Sanctuary is now a shithole. Negan agrees with the sentiment, stating that he could've told her that if she'd asked.

After following an escaped Negan from Alexandria, Brandon questions if Negan plans to create a new Sanctuary. Having lived there with his parents, Brandon comments on how cool the Sanctuary was, but Negan brushes him off.

At some point following this, the Sanctuary is reoccupied by a small group of bandits led by Marty. The group, despite having no apparent connection to the Saviors aside from using Negan's old fortress as their base, are shown to use some of the Saviors' old tactics such as putting walkers on the fence and covering their heads in metal to make it harder for them to be taken down. Having returned to the area, Dwight raids the Sanctuary for the insulin that the bandits stole from Jay, but draws their ire when he burns Phil alive in the furnace. After Dove is shot, Dwight and Sherry are forced to return to the Sanctuary with June and Dove for treatment. The conflict draws a large herd that attacks the Sanctuary's walls. Having grown dilapidated and unstable over the years, the Sanctuary falters under the stress despite Dwight and Sherry's attempts to deal with the walkers. When the bandits return, the two retreat inside and hide in the furnace with June and Dove as the Sanctuary is overrun and finally collapses, killing all of the bandits and the walkers. By the time that the group emerge from the furnace, the Sanctuary - once the seemingly unbeatable fortress of Negan and the Saviors and a source of many bad memories for Dwight and Sherry - has at last been destroyed.

Following the Fall of PADRE, Dwight decides to return to the Sanctuary and rebuild it with Sherry and the other people that they find. The Sanctuary remains defensible, the streets are still intact and Dwight and Sherry know the area. Dwight suggests that maybe they can take the Sanctuary and make it worthy of its name.

Years later, the Croat tells Negan that he went to the Sanctuary first to find him, only to discover that it's a long-abandoned husk which the Croat found to be depressing, though when exactly he went to the Sanctuary is unknown, as it could've been before Marty and his group took over.






  • The appearance of the Sanctuary, which is identical to the comic's counterpart, is based on the Willow Street Steam Generation Plant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • In the Comic Series, the Sanctuary is still active, but is abandoned in the show.
  • Despite the Militia bringing new windows to repair the Sanctuary in "Wrath", the windows remain in their shot-out state for the rest of its appearances. No explanation is ever given for this.
  • In "Hostiles and Calamities", Laura asks Eugene what he wants to eat. Eugene asks if they have potato chips to which Laura says they do and that "Number Forty-Two", referring to an unnamed worker, is the one who makes it. After she reveals that Forty-Two makes it using a kettle, Eugene decides he no longer wishes to eat the chips.
  • After seeing the Tower in "Till Death", Sherry compares it to the Sanctuary. She and Dwight also compare PADRE to the Sanctuary in "Blue Jay" and "King County".
  • The Sanctuary appears in the archival footage shown at the beginning of "Variant" as Judith narrates past events of the show to the audience before the episode's story begins.
  • The Sanctuary one of five locations to appear in both The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, the other four being The Heaps, King County, Georgia, Eastman's Cemetery, and Dwight's House.
  • The Sanctuary is the only location to appear in three different TV Universe shows, appearing in The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: Dead City.
  • In the Episode Insider for "Sanctuary", it was stated that it took about a week to replicate the Sanctuary set for the episode. Ian Goldberg called it "one of the tallest orders we've ever done on the show."
  • Despite Dwight and Sherry vowing to rebuild the Sanctuary in "The Road Ahead", it is unknown whether or not they still reside there by the time of Season 1 of Dead City, as the Croat states the Sanctuary was an "abandoned husk". It's possible that Dwight and Sherry simply relocated after beginning to rebuild, simply never made it, were taken in by the other communities in the Commonwealth alliance, or the Croat visited before their return as it was never made clear exactly how long he was searching for Negan for.


  1. In Season 9 Episode 14 "Scars", Frankie and several Saviors are shown living in Alexandria during the flashbacks, indicating that the Sanctuary fell shortly after the bridge's destruction and during Michonne's pregnancy.