Grey’s Anatomy has seen many characters come and go over 18 seasons (and counting). Some, like Patrick Dempsey‘s Derek Shepherd and Chyler Leigh‘s Lexie Grey have died, while others such as Jessica Capshaw‘s Arizona Robbins simply left the iconic hospital, and thus the show. Shonda Rhimes, who created the hit ABC series, but has handed over show runner duties to Krista Vernoff, named Derek, as well as T.R. Knight‘s George O’Malley, as the two characters she’d like to see return to the show in a new interview.
“Some of them aren’t alive anymore,” Shonda told Entertainment Tonight at the grand opening of the Shonda Rhimes Performing Arts Center in L.A. on April 12. “I always loved Meredith and Derek. I loved the week we got to see that reunion. I always loved George,” she added.
Well, there you have it: Shonda misses George and Derek just as much as we do. Fans will recall that George died in the season 5 finale after being hit by a bus, while Derek was killed off in season 11 from injuries sustained in a car accident. However, both deceased characters popped up in season 17 during a beach dream sequence of Meredith’s (Ellen Pompeo) while she was in a coma from COVID.
Shonda added during the interview, “There’s so many wonderful characters that are on that show that we want to have in our hearts and our memories, but that’s the beauty of such a long-running show. There’s so much to go back and rewatch.”
There’s plenty more characters that Shonda didn’t mention that are dearly missed by fans. You have Lexie, who died in the season 8 finale plane crash alongside Eric Dane‘s Mark Sloan. There’s also fan-favorite Cristina Yang, who was played by Sandra Oh for the first ten season. It wasn’t surprising that Shonda didn’t name Katherine Heigl‘s Izzie Stevens, considering there’s been reports that on-set drama led to the Emmy Award winner’s departure after season 6.
Currently, Grey’s Anatomy stars Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey), James Pickens Jr (Richard Webber), Kevin McKidd (Owen Hunt), Caterina Scorsone (Amelia Shepherd), Camilla Luddington (Jo Wilson), Kelly McCreary (Maggie Pierce), Kim Raver (Teddy Altman), and Chris Carmack (Link Lincoln). The series has been renewed for a 19th season, although its lead star has openly discussed her thoughts on the show ending soon.
I’ve been trying to focus on convincing everybody that it should end,” Ellen, 52, told Insider in Dec. 2021. “I feel like I’m the super naive one who keeps saying, ‘But what’s the story going to be, what story are we going to tell?’”