‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 18: Everything You Need To Know

Meredith Grey and the rest of the doctors will be back for 'Grey's Anatomy' season 18. From those major returns to the first footage, here are all the latest updates about the new season.

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Amidst all the constant change in our lives, there is one thing that remains the same: Grey’s Anatomy. The long-running medical drama returns for season 18 on September 30. The show premiered all the way back in 2005 and is still one of the most popular shows on TV.

Season 18 will feature new cast members and the return of some familiar faces. Hello again, Addison! HollywoodLife has all the news about Grey’s Anatomy season 18 that you need to know.

Ellen Pompeo
Ellen Pompeo stars as Dr. Meredith Grey. (ABC)

The Show So Far

Season 17 was an emotional roller coaster. Meredith caught COVID-19 early on in the season, and her fate was in jeopardy for a number of episodes. While Meredith was in a coma, she found herself in a beach dream sequence where she crossed paths with loved ones she had lost, including Lexie, Mark, George, and Derek. Meredith also met up with DeLuca on the beach after he tragically died in the real world. DeLuca was stabbed by a sex trafficker and ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

DeLuca wasn’t the only major character to leave in season 17. Jackson decided he was leaving Seattle and moving to Boston to take over his family’s foundation. After an emotional reunion with April, his ex and daughter Harriet joined him in the move. As Jackson said his goodbyes at Grey Sloan, Tom revealed his intention to work for Jackson after a severe battle with COVID-19. Tom told Jackson, “I was the only white guy. I just felt like I owed it to them to be better. Let me become worthy of being spared. I want to be an ally.”

The season 18 finale featured a time jump to April 2021. The episode revealed what happened in the months leading up to April, including Meredith started her new job as residency director. Owen and Teddy rekindled their romance finally, and Owen proposed to Teddy. When Link tried do the same thing with Amelia at Maggie and Winston’s wedding, Amelia turned him down. The episode ended with Link showing up at Jo’s new apartment, which Jackson gave her so she could foster baby Luna.

Sandra Oh
Sandra Oh will not be returning to ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ (ABC)

Even though Meredith was texting Cristina in the final moments of the episode, don’t expect Sandra Oh to return in season 18. Sandra told the Los Angeles Times that she is not considering a Cristina comeback. “I left that show, my God, seven years ago almost,” she said. “So in my mind, it’s gone. But for a lot of people, it’s still very much alive. And while I understand and I love it, I have moved on.”

Season 18 Premiere Date

Grey’s Anatomy is keeping its Thursday night time slot. The show’s eighteenth season premieres September 30 at 9 p.m. on ABC. The Grey’s Anatomy spinoff series, Station 19, premieres its fifth season that same night at 8 p.m.

Season 18 will kick off a crossover premiere night event with Station 19. The first trailer, which was released on September 7, revealed what to expect in the premiere episode. Someone steals the rig and a terrible crash happens as a result.

The Station 19 crew have to transport the patient on foot to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. “Brace yourself for one hell of a return,” the voiceover says. Megan Hunt is spotted in the hospital, and Ellis Grey is seen speaking to Meredith in what has to be another dream sequence. But is that the big return the show is teasing? With Grey’s Anatomy, you never know.

Season 18 Returning & New Cast

Ellen Pompeo is back for her eighteenth season as Dr. Meredith Grey. When the season 18 renewal was announced in May 2021, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Ellen signed a new deal after “prolonged negotiations.” She reportedly received “another salary increase” to take her above $20 million a year, and she remains “broadcast television’s highest-earning actress in a primetime drama series.”

Grey’s Anatomy vets Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. will also be back for season 18. They also “received sizable pay bumps” for the new season. Ellen, Chandra, and James are the only cast members to have been with the show all 18 seasons.

Chandra Wilson
Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. on ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ (ABC)

Kevin McKidd, Kim Raver, and Camilla Luddington will reprise their roles as Owen, Teddy, and Jo in season 18 and beyond — if that’s what happens. Kevin, Kim, and Camilla reportedly signed “new multi-year contracts” ahead of season 17, according to Deadline. The contracts were reportedly for 3 years, which would keep them on the show through at least season 19. Nothing about season 19 has been confirmed.

Caterina Scorsone, Chris Carmack, Jake Borelli, Alex Landi, Anthony Hill, and Kelly McCreary will also return for season 18. Kelly is expecting her first child, so her pregnancy may be written into Maggie’s storyline in season 18. Kelly announced she was pregnant on August 16, just 4 days after wrapping her first day of season 18.

Season 18 will feature the return of more beloved characters. Kate Walsh will be back as Dr. Addison Montgomery. She will appear in “multiple episodes,” according to Deadline. Kate celebrated her return on social media with a video.

“It’s really happening. Dr. Addison Montgomery will see you shortly,” she captioned the video. This will be the first time Addison has been on Grey’s Anatomy since 2012 when she made a guest appearance. Kate continued to play Addison in the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff, Private Practice, which ran for 6 seasons.

Kate Burton will reprise her role as Dr. Ellis Grey in “multiple episodes,” including the season 18 premiere, Deadline first reported. Even though a number of dead characters returned last season for those beach sequences, Ellis wasn’t one of them. Meredith’s mother was last seen in a season 15 episode. Abigail Spencer is returning as Megan Hunt, Owen’s sister, in season 18. She will have a recurring role throughout season 18, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Abigail’s last appearance as Megan was in season 15.

Kate Burton
Kate Burton is coming back as Ellis Grey. (ABC)

Jesse Williams left the show during season 17, but he hasn’t ruled out a return as Dr. Jackson Avery in season 18. “I love my people there, my character, and it could be really cool to have a check-in and see what he and April are up to. I’d be interested in that for sure,” Jesse told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY.

There will also be some fresh blood in season 18. The O.C. alum Peter Gallagher has joined the cast of season 18 as Dr. Alan Hamilton. The character knew Ellis Grey and will have a “major arc” throughout the season, Deadline reports. Peter’s first appearance will be in the season premiere.

Is Season 18 The Final Season?

ABC has not announced whether or not season 18 will be the final season of Grey’s Anatomy. The show continues to perform well for the network, so a cancellation isn’t in the cards unless Ellen decides she wants to leave. Craig Erwich, president of ABC Entertainment and Hulu Originals, has hopes of more Grey’s Anatomy beyond season 18.

“Grey’s Anatomy continues to be a ratings juggernaut,” Craig told Deadline. “The fans loved this season. I thought Grey’s Anatomy did a really incredible job this year telling the stories of all the frontline heroes who are fighting the good fight [against] Covid. We will take Grey’s Anatomy for as long as we can.”

Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and Ellen have been vocal about how the show will end when Ellen is ready to leave. “The story is about Meredith Grey’s journey and when I’m done, the show will end,” Ellen told Variety in 2017. “I don’t know how long the show will go on. I know the network and the studio like to say they see no end in sight, but I think the audience will tell us when the show is no longer a fan favorite. I think it’s quite arrogant to assume the show can go on forever — I don’t like that approach. Right now, we’re very lucky to have the fans still hanging on, and I think the fans will let us know when it’s time to stop the show.”

Chris Carmack
A scene from the season 17 finale. (ABC)

Shonda reiterated Ellen’s feelings about the end of Grey’s Anatomy in an interview with E! News in 2017. “Ellen and I have a pact that I’m going to do the show as long as she’s going to do the show,” Shonda said. “So the show will exist as long as both of us want to do it. If she wants to stop, we’re stopping. So I don’t know if we’ll see 600, but I want to keep it feeling fresh. As long as there are fresh stories to tell and as long as we’re both excited about the stories being told, we’re in. So, we’ll see where that takes us.”

While season 17 was airing, Ellen wasn’t sure if season 18 was going to happen. “The truth is, this year could be it,” she told Variety in October 2020. “I’m constantly fighting for the show as a whole to be as good as it can be. As a producer, I feel like I have permission to be able to do that. I mean, this is the last year of my contract right now. I don’t know that this is the last year, but it could very well could be.” Thankfully, she signed another contract.

Another ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Spinoff

Grey’s Anatomy has already produced two successful spinoffs, Private Practice and Station 19. ABC chief Craig Erwich is open to more spinoffs in the future. He told Deadline in May 2021 that Grey’s Anatomy has a “fertile landscape of characters and stories, so we are always open to any iteration that will serve the show and the fans.”

ABC Signature President Jonnie Davis told Deadline that Grey’s showrunner Krista Vernoff and her team were “noodling ideas” about another spinoff and the “next phase of Grey’s Anatomy. 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 [creator Shonda Rhimes].”

Jonnie later issued a statement clarifying what he said about a potential spinoff: “I would like to clarify some statements I made in a prior interview,” he said. “There are no conversations about a spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy at this time. We are 100 percent focused on producing season 18, with the incredible Krista Vernoff at the helm, and the amazing Ellen Pompeo leading our ensemble and co-executive producing. As the leader of ABC Signature, I meant only to convey my support and optimism for Shonda’s brilliant creation.”