Grey's Anatomy confirms more surprise returns in season 17

19 November 2020, 17:46

Patrick Dempsey returns as Derek to Grey’s Anatomy

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

Ellis? George? Lexie? Mark? Who else will return in Meredith's dreams in Grey's Anatomy?

Have we all recovered from the shock return of Patrick Dempsey and Derek Shepherd in Grey's Anatomy yet? No? Me neither. Now it looks like there's more cast surprises ahead.

Last week (Nov 12), Derek returned to an unconscious Meredith after she collapsed in the car park following a series of shifts taking care of COVID patients. It turns out she's come down with a pretty serious case of COVID-19 herself.

And it appears as though Derek isn't the only character that may show up in Meredith's dreams this season either.

Producers have teased that more former series regulars could pop up in season 17. Executive producers Andy Reaser and Meg Marinis told PEOPLE that “wonderful and completely surprising things are absolutely possible." Showrunner Krista Vernoff also teased to Deadline that we'll "have to tune in and see who comes to the beach. It’ll be a joyful discovery."

It was also confirmed in the promo for 17x04 that another character will return. So, which beloved characters could show up on Mer's beach next?

READ MORE: Patrick Dempsey will appear in three more episodes of Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy season 17: Which other characters are returning?
Grey's Anatomy season 17: Which other characters are returning? Picture: ABC, Frank Ockenfels/Walt Disney Television, Randy Holmes/Walt Disney Television

Ellis Grey

In an interview with Deadline, Vernoff revealed that the original script for the first episode of season 17 included Ellis Grey's name instead of Derek's, in order to keep Dempsey's return a secret. Seeing as Kate Burton has returned multiple times as Ellis over the years, it's possible that she could return again. She's still a huge part of Meredith's life, after all.

George O'Malley

Another beloved character that could pop up on Meredith's Covid Dream Beach is George O'Malley. George's death in season 5 remains one of the most heartbreaking moments in Grey's history, and T. R. Knight has never popped back up in the series. Earlier this year, Ellen Pompeo shared a photo of the two of them on a hike and fans went wild.

Pompeo and Dempsey also explained that one of the reasons why they decided to bring Derek back was "to make people feel better, to give some comfort in this time of uncertainty". George's return would certainly do that too, right?

Lexie Grey

Speaking of devastating deaths, Meredith's sister Lexie Grey (played by Chyler Leigh) is also a character who could possibly return. Lexie died in the plane crash that happened at the end of season 8. Not that you needed reminding. You're probably still upset about it. Meredith reuniting with Lexie would be so amazing to see. Fingers crossed for this one. Already looking forward to sobbing about it.

Mark Sloan

Mark and Meredith grew to be good friends before he died at the start of season 9 as a result of the plane crash. It's possible that he could show up on the beach. Because like, who wouldn't wanna see Eric Dane's Mark reunite with Derek? And more importantly, who wouldn't wanna see Mark finally reunite (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) with Lexie?

Doc the Dog

Honestly, don't be surprised if Doc the Dog shows up on the Covid Dream Beach. He's appeared to Meredith in her unconscious state before, and he even appeared in the Day of the Dead inspired episode in season 15. An iconic character if ever there was one.


Other characters that could show up in Mer's dreams include her dad Thatcher Grey, literally anyone who Meredith has ever worked with and any number of the patients that have had a profound impact on Meredith's life, including Denny Duquette. We guess it all depends on which actors are available.

There is one character that might not make an appearance on the beach though: Cristina Yang. Cristina is obviously one of the most important people in Meredith's life but Sandra Oh recently stated that she won't return to the series. Not even for the final ever episode. Only time will tell if she was actually just faking us all out...

Who do you think will show up on Meredith's dream beach?