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Season 17 of 'Grey's Anatomy' has seen the return of many iconic characters. Peek behind the scenes to see who else is coming back.

Back to Grey Sloan: Which ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ characters are returning?

Season 17 of Grey’s Anatomy has been dubbed the COVID-19 season. The doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital are dealing with the pandemic on top of all the usual drama & craziness that rules their lives. However, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) is in a COVID-19 induced coma and no one knows if she is ever going to wake up. 

The question has been raised: is season 17 the last season of Grey’s Anatomy? While no one has actually answered the question definitively, Ellen Pompeo has said that it “very well could be”. The writers of the show are certainly behaving like it is. In true Grey’s Anatomy spirit they’re killing off beloved cast members, but they’re also bringing back characters that have previously left too!

Some of the most beloved doctors on Grey’s Anatomy were written out with little to no warning for viewers and fans never really got to say their proper goodbyes. In the event that season 17 is the end of the line for Grey’s Anatomy, bringing back the beloved cast members that were taken from viewers without any notice seems like a good way to go. We’ve got the skinny on the departed favs to return, and the lowdown on all the others too!

Season 17 of 'Grey's Anatomy' has seen the return of many iconic characters. Peek behind the scenes to see who else is coming back.

April Kepner

Team Japril unite! The breaking news from the Grey’s Anatomy camp this week is that Sarah Drew will be returning to the show for one episode as she reprises her role as April Kepner. April’s storyline throughout Drew’s time on Grey’s Anatomy was utterly dramatic, but it definitely earned her a bit of a cult following. 

She entered the show a virgin that no one really took too seriously at the hospital. She was smart though, and very good at her job, and attracted the attention of her supervisors. She worked her way to the top without sleeping with anyone and eventually fell in love with a paramedic. However in a weird twist of fate she was also falling in love with Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams). 

When April abandons the guy she was actually supposed to marry and runs off and marries Jackson, this is when the Grey’s Anatomy fandom started paying legitimate attention to April Kepner. It was so wildly out of character for the perfect Christian virgin that she was that it had Grey’s Anatomy disaster written all over it. And what a disaster their relationship was. 

Season 17 of 'Grey's Anatomy' has seen the return of many iconic characters. Peek behind the scenes to see who else is coming back.

Despite this, people couldn’t get enough of Japril, and when they eventually got divorced and April went full circle and ended up marrying the original guy she was supposed to, fans sighed dejectedly but let her go quietly into the night. At least she wasn’t killed off!

But she is back! It’s unclear in what capacity or for what reason April shows up again at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. However, both Jesse Williams & Sarah Drew have both shared pictures and videos of the pair reuniting on the way to set. Say what you want about the diaster-ship that was Japril. We’re stoked to see that she will be returning, even if it is just for one episode! 

Details on when exactly that particular episode will air are yet to be released. So watch this space!

Season 17 of 'Grey's Anatomy' has seen the return of many iconic characters. Peek behind the scenes to see who else is coming back.

Derek Shepherd

Dr. McDreamy – aka Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) was the love of Meredith Grey’s life and one of the most popular characters in the show’s entire history. Patrick Dempsey cited personal reasons for his departure from Grey’s Anatomy, stating the filming schedule was impacting his family life. In true Grey’s Anatomy fashion, Derek went out with a bang. 

A truck slammed into Derek’s Porsche and the paramedics that came for him took him to a hospital far less capable of dealing with his injuries than Grey Sloan was. Derek died at the hospital soon after the accident, leaving Meredith – and us – absolutely positively distraught.

Season 17 of 'Grey's Anatomy' has seen the return of many iconic characters. Peek behind the scenes to see who else is coming back.

Wait, he died! How is it even possible for him to return? Well the answer to that also serves as one of the main reasons that people think that season 17 really is the farewell season of Grey’s Anatomy. Meredith is currently in a coma caused by COVID-19. She has taken up residence in her subconscious on a beach where it is implied that she is existing in a state of limbo between life and death. 

Derek has visited here here on the beach. While Meredith isn’t technically dead, she is currently occupying that place where communication with others that have passed on is possible. This beach seems to be functioning essentially as the gateway to heaven and viewers are all waiting to see if she’ll take the bait and join Derek or whether she’ll stick around a bit longer. The jury is still out on this one. 

Season 17 of 'Grey's Anatomy' has seen the return of many iconic characters. Peek behind the scenes to see who else is coming back.

George O’Malley

George O’Malley (T.R Knight) wasn’t supposed to be the crowd favorite that he was. Fans of the show took to the original cast member with such gusto that he was given a more dominant role than he was originally supposed to play. Despite this, though, he didn’t stick around for nearly long enough. 

Like Dempsey, it was Knight’s personal decision to leave the show, citing differences with executive producer Shonda Rhimes about the future of O’Malley’s character. He made the decision to leave on his own and asked to be written out of the show. And what a send off he got. O’Malley’s death was probably the most heartbreaking Grey’s Anatomy loss fans have ever endured. 

Season 17 of 'Grey's Anatomy' has seen the return of many iconic characters. Peek behind the scenes to see who else is coming back.

O’Malley was saving another woman from being hit by a bus and essentially sacrificed himself. The bus hit him instead of her and his injuries were so severe that when first responders brought him to the hospital, none of his coworkers even recognized him. O’Malley has also returned in season 17 so visit Meredith on the beach. 

If this is goodbye to Grey’s Anatomy, which character would you like to see return one last time? Drop us a comment and let us know!

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