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The Grey's Anatomy-Scream Connection You Probably Forgot About

First launched in 1996, "Scream" is, undoubtedly, one of the most popular horror franchises in cinematic history. The first film serves as a clever meta-commentary on the nature of horror movies themselves — creating rules like "the first person to leave any given room is sure to die" — while also serving as an unbelievably effective horror movie, and commenting on horror tropes while scaring the pants off the audience is a classic characteristic of the "Scream" franchise. Throughout the bulk of the films, audiences follow Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) as she desperately tries to escape Ghostface, a vicious masked killer armed with nothing but a knife, a voice-changing device, and a dream.

In the other corner, we've got "Grey's Anatomy," a mid-season replacement that came to ABC in 2005 and ended up becoming the longest-running medical drama in television history. For the large majority of its run, the show starred Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey, and fans watched as she rose in the surgical ranks from a lowly intern to a world-class general surgeon.

What do these have in common, if anything? One major thing, actually. Patrick Dempsey, who played Derek Shepherd for eleven seasons of "Grey's Anatomy," appears in 2000's "Scream 3" as Mark Kincaid, a detective as well as Sidney's love interest; he doesn't appear in any subsequent "Scream" films, but it's acknowledged that he and Sidney get married. Campbell, meanwhile, showed up on "Grey's Anatomy" as Derek's sister Liz Shepherd for two episodes.

Neve Campbell plays Derek Shepherd's sister on Grey's Anatomy

In the Season 8 finale of "Grey's Anatomy," several doctors from Seattle Grace-Mercy West Hospital get into a devastating plane crash en route to Boise, Idaho, where they're supposed to perform a major surgery. Some doctors perish, but Derek Shepherd, a legendary neurosurgeon, survives ... but severely injures his hand, putting his ability to perform surgery into question. That's where Liz Shepherd comes in.

Without consulting Derek — her husband at this point — Meredith calls Liz, one of Derek's four sisters, and has her fly out to Seattle to donate a nerve from her leg that could help him regain mobility in his hand. Derek is resistant at first, as it's a dangerous surgery, and as he points out to both Meredith and Liz, it's entirely possible that the surgery won't even work as planned, and he even cancels the surgery — but after Meredith and Liz talk him down, he finally agrees. Liz and Meredith end up having a heart-to-heart as well when Liz tells Meredith that she feels she missed out on so many milestones of Derek and Meredith's relationship, including when they adopted their first daughter Zola; as a gesture, Meredith tells Liz she's pregnant. 

Campbell only appears as Liz across two episode of "Grey's Anatomy," but in the end, it's definitely a super-special Easter egg for fans of both franchises.

These days, Neve Campbell has left the Scream franchise behind

The two don't technically share this connection on either end, though. Patrick Dempsey left "Grey's Anatomy" in Season 11 — though he briefly returned in Season 17 as a hallucination while Meredith suffered from COVID-19 — and Neve Campbell last appeared in "Scream," which is, confusingly, the fifth movie in the franchise. "Scream VI" went ahead without Campbell, and the actress revealed that she felt her offer was less than she deserved. In an interview around the film's release, the directors said they would love to have Campbell reprise her iconic role as Sidney Prescott.

"We'd never give up on her," director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, who helmed the movie alongside Tyler Gillett, told The Hollywood Reporter. "We love Neve, and we love Sidney. So we'd love to be able to make another movie with her, and we're not giving up.

Campbell also seems sort of unlikely to return to "Grey's Anatomy," considering that Derek Shepherd died when Dempsey left the series and Ellen Pompeo is no longer a series regular, so Liz Shepherd returning would be fairly strange. At the very least, you can stream several "Scream" movies on Paramount+ and "Grey's Anatomy" on Hulu and Netflix.