The Twilight Saga spans four main novels that were adapted into five films and a future television adaptation about a human, Bella Swan, who falls in love with a vampire, Edward Cullen. They face many obstacles in their complicated relationship, including a love triangle with Jacob Black, a werewolf. Despite all they go through, Bella and Edward end up with their happily ever after. However, when returning to the series, it's actually surprising how short the timeline of the Twilight books and movies are as their love story unfolds.
The first book, Twilight, begins after Christmas, and after the start of a new high school semester. Bella moves to Forks, Washington, and enrolls in a new school after the semester has already begun and right before the spring dance. While no specific details are given for what month or year Twilight is set in, Bella likely arrives sometime in February or March. Her first meeting with Edward is tense, and they don't actually start off on good terms. As such, it takes a while for them to even speak to each other.
Twilight's Timeline Moves at a Swift Pace
They end up spending time together outside of school for the first time when Edward follows her to Seattle and saves her from a group of male attackers while she's there shopping with Angela and Jessica, who are looking for Spring Dance dresses. The following weekend is the day of the dance, but Bella and Edward skip it to spend the day in the meadow. This is where Bella really gets to see the full extent of his vampire abilities. It's also the day of their first kiss.
So, the first Twilight book takes place in less than a single semester of high school. New Moon has a slightly longer timeline because of the few months when Edward leaves Bella behind after breaking up with her. They break up because her 18th birthday party was a disaster, a party that took place around six months after their relationship started. This helps track the timeline because it's revealed that Bella has a September birthday. They get back together after Bella saves Edward from a suicide attempt in Italy, and he's back in Forks well before the end of senior year.
Bella graduates from high school in Eclipse, which means by the time Edward and Bella are engaged, they've known each other for about 15 or 16 months. Subtracting the months in which they were apart in New Moon, their romantic relationship was about a year old. During that year, they survive an attack by James, a vampire with advanced tracking abilities, an investigation by the vampire society ruling Volturi and a newborn army led by the vengeful Victoria. That's an awful lot of plot to happen in such a short period.
The most surprising timeline for Twilight actually takes place in Breaking Dawn. Bella and Edward get married one month before Bella's birthday, meaning they have an August wedding. By Christmas, she is a vampire, and her daughter Renesmee has already matured into a school-age child. That is absolutely wild to think about, especially when looking at it from the perspective of the film adaptations.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 starts with the invitations to Bella and Edward's wedding being delivered, which happens sometime in the summer before their actual August wedding, one month before Bella's 19th birthday. While on their honeymoon, Bella becomes pregnant, and they return to Forks just a few weeks before her birthday. Her pregnancy evolves quickly, and she gives birth within a month of conception. Edward turns Bella into a vampire to survive after Renesmee's birth nearly kills her. In doing so, Bella becomes an immortal teenager just like Edward. The timeline of Breaking Dawn is chaotic when charted out in chronological order. Over two months or less, Edward and Bella get married, have a baby and Bella is transformed into a vampire.
The Twilight Saga Takes Place in Less Than Two Years
The story doesn't finish there, though. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is all about the Volturi coming to Forks to challenge the Cullen clan over a false claim that Renesmee is an immortal child. The Cullens amass a group of friends and witnesses to provide evidence that Renesmee is not a threat to the vampire secrecy laws. The Volturi arrive not long after Christmas. That means they arrive less than six months after Bella and Edward's wedding. When they appear, Bella and Edward haven't even known each other for a full two years.
The entire length of The Twilight Saga's timeline is less than 24 months. While not every major milestone in the series comes equipped with clear and apparent dates, there is enough information to lay out a rough timeline between Bella's arrival in Forks and her happily ever after with Edward. The books are dense with plot, all crammed into a timeframe much smaller than most Twilight fans likely assumed.
The Twilight Saga movies are available to stream on Peacock and Prime Video.