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Scrubbing Back in! Everything We Know So Far About Season 18 of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Paging Dr. Meredith Grey to ABC’s fall primetime lineup! After season 17 was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, the network officially renewed the long-running medical drama for a new season in May 2021. A month later, ABC confirmed that its season finale was the week’s “No.1 entertainment series” among adults.

“Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy have done an incredible job of honoring real-life heroes by giving audiences an unflinching look at one of the biggest medical stories of our time,” Hulu Originals & ABC Entertainment president Craig Erwich said via a statement at the time. “Krista [Vernoff] and her team of writers have continued to deliver the compelling and compassionate storytelling that is a hallmark of these shows, and created some of the year’s most-talked-about moments in television. We’re so grateful to our talented casts and crews for their extraordinary work that connects with viewers everywhere, and we look forward to sharing even more defining moments with our fans next season.”

The show’s renewal was confirmed after fan-favorite stars Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, Camilla Luddington and more inked fresh contracts to return to the hallowed halls of Grey Sloan Memorial after season 17 saw the departure of two series regulars. In the midst of the COVID-focused season, both Jesse Williams (Jackson Avery) and Giacomo Gianniotti (Andrew DeLuca) were written out.

“Giacomo has brought so much talent and so much heart to the role of Andrew DeLuca,” Vernoff wrote in a statement via her Instagram in March 2021. “We at Grey’s Anatomy are grieving the death of this character with all of you. Giacomo played him so beautifully and took him on such a powerful journey — from intern, to romantic, to a mental health crisis and back again. … Thank you Giacomo for your performance, your talent, your grace.”

Throughout season 17, many familiar faces also returned to the show to reunite with Pompeo’s Meredith Grey during a beach dream sequence while she suffered from COVID-19. Fans were delighted to see Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) and George O’Malley (T.R. Knight) come back for a brief scene or two.

“I thought it was a beautiful way to close it,” Dempsey recalled to Variety in April 2021 about his beloved character’s return to the show. “The intention was to really give people some hope because they are such an iconic couple. We’ve lost so many people this year, the thought that we’d have angels hovering around us taking care of us is a good message to send out in such a bleak world that we’re living in. So for all of us, it was a beautiful ending to this story. I’m so grateful that I did it and happy that the fans really loved it.”

Keep scrolling to find out everything we know so far about the upcoming season of Grey’s and who will return to the popular medical drama next:

The OGs Are Back
After ABC closed a new deal with the Rebel creator to resume working with the network, they also finalized contracts for the last remaining members of the original cast in May 2021. Deadline first confirmed at the time that Pompeo, Wilson and James Pickens Jr. would return as Meredith Grey, Miranda Bailey and Richard Webber, respectively.

Paging Ortho!
Several days after Pompeo and Luddington returned to set, the ortho posse was brought back on August 14. Alex Landi (who plays Nico Kim) shared a behind-the-scenes selfie with Chris Carmack (Atticus Lincoln) and Ant Hill (Winston Ndugu), all in their navy scrubs. Landi captioned the pic, “Ortho’s first day,” alongside a #season18 hashtag.

For Hill’s part, he shared a selfie from his trailer via Instagram that day, writing, “Season 18. Day 1. 🙌🏾.” Pompeo — who plays his onscreen sister-in-law — commented, “Let them know @anthilll 🙌🔥.”

Return to Set
The GSM crew is officially back to work! The Friends alum posted a behind-the-scenes video via her Instagram Story on Wednesday, August 11, getting her makeup done. She captioned the post, “Guess what time it is?? #GreysSeason18 with @deskikole and”

Luddington, who plays Jo Wilson on the show, also shared a BTS snap from her trailer that day. “Day 1 … collecting lots of BTS pics to post when we premiere,” she wrote via her Stories at the time, alongside a black container that had a sign which read, “Jo Costume Return End of Day.”

Additionally, Jake Borelli (Levi Schmitt) shared a selfie via his Story, wearing a “season 17” hoodie. In the pic, he crossed out “17” and etched 18 on the slide, seemingly teasing that Levi will also be returning to the medical series.

More Ghosts Are Coming
Kate Burton, who previously played Meredith’s mother, Ellis, will reprise her role as the acclaimed surgeon for multiple installments in the new season. Deadline first reported the news in August 2021. Burton’s character died in season 3, but has made appearances in various flashbacks and dreams over the years.

Many Fan-Favorites Are Expected to Return to Grey-Sloan, Too
Ahead of season 17, several cast members inked fresh deals to return for seasons 17 and 18. Deadline confirmed in July 2020 that Luddington, Kim Raver (Teddy Altman) and Kevin McKidd (Owen Hunt) signed multi-year contracts to return to the show.

The Writers Are ‘Digging Deep’ to Create Show’s ‘Next Phase’
The network heads previously spoke about what Vernoff’s team had in store for the upcoming season in May 2021 at the ABC upfronts.

“Krista and the team are really digging deep and finding out what that looks like. They are noodling ideas, and I can’t wait to, when we land on what that is to introduce the next phase of Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC Signature President Jonnie Davis told Deadline at the time. “We will find the next version that will take it to the next 18 years. We’re working on for right now, and there’s no better brains to figure it out than Krista and Shonda.”


It’s All About TGIT This September
ABC confirmed the show’s return on Thursday, September 30, at 9 p.m. ET.

‘Station 19’ Spinoff Will Also Return
The network also announced the firefighting spinoff was renewed for its fifth season, likely meaning there will be more crossovers during the 2021-22 TV season.

“The writers, directors, casts and crews of Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 worked so hard to bring these shows to life this past season,” Vernoff said in a statement. “Keeping each other safe on set while paying tribute to the front-line heroes and first responders has been a challenge and a privilege. I’ve been truly blown away – particularly by our tireless crews – as they reinvented the TV-making wheel. Thank you to ABC and ABC Signature for the support and extraordinary partnership through this unprecedented season. We are so grateful for the opportunity to tell more stories.”

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