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Expect Surprise Classic Character Visits To Grey's Anatomy During Season 19

During its impressive run on TV, the medical drama "Grey's Anatomy" has featured a revolving door of characters that have come and gone. That's probably expected for a show that made its debut in 2005 and is currently running its 19th Season. When a beloved series endures for that long, there are bound to be major shifts between old and new characters. And in that regard, Season 19 looks more like a transition period for "Grey's Anatomy." Mirroring the beginning of Meredith Grey's (Ellen Pompeo) journey on the show, the latest season of "Grey's Anatomy" has introduced some new interns.

Yet fresh faces aren't the only change to the status quo in the series. Fans are bracing themselves to see less of Meredith, as Pompeo is expected to appear in far fewer episodes of "Grey's Anatomy." The actor, who is immensely busy outside of the show with other acting gigs, a podcast, and even co-founding a prescription medication service, will eventually phase into a narration role for "Grey's Anatomy." Meredith's diminishing screen time is perhaps unexpected and sad. However, we might also see older fan favorites return to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. According to showrunner Krista Vernoff, fans of "Grey's Anatomy" can at least expect some pleasant surprises in the form of classic character visits.

Surprise character returns are meant to ease the loss of Meredith Grey

"Grey's Anatomy" is no stranger to having older characters make surprise returns to the series. In fact, in Season 17, after Meredith Grey fell ill, fans saw the return of quite a few classic characters, some of whom met their demise in earlier seasons of the show. This meant Meredith got a reunion of sorts with Derek Shepard (Patrick Dempsey), George O'Malley (T.R. Knight), and her half-sister Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh). The moment could have made for a solid series ending if it had chosen to do so. Instead, "Grey's Anatomy" is in Season 19 with little signs of ending, even if Meredith is fading back from the spotlight a bit.

While her character will still play a significant part in the series, her expected onscreen absence could produce a noticeable void. "Grey's Anatomy" showrunner Krista Vernoff is aware of this, which is why she noted to TV Line that fans can expect surprise character visits for Season 19 to help bandage the loss. "We've got a tremendous cast, but that's a big loss," Vernoff told TV Line while speaking about Meredith. "So, how do you fill that void? It's unfillable, but we've peppered delightful surprises throughout the season to try to fill a little tiny bit of that space." Vernoff's reveal falls in line with the news of at least one expected return. Jesse Williams recently teased a possible appearance for Season 19. Williams, who played Jackson Avery, left the series at the end of Season 18. Still, who else could be making a grand return to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital besides Avery?