Grey’s Anatomy Returning Cast Members Revealed

They're coming back!

By Matthew Creith | Published

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When it debuted on ABC in 2005, Grey’s Anatomy became a runaway hit for the network. Embodying the spirit and tenacity that medical shows like ER and Chicago Hope established in the 1990s, Shonda Rhimes and company took the genre and spun it on its head for audiences to soak up. Shining a light on contemporary issues and soap opera deliciousness, Grey’s Anatomy is still going strong as it approaches its upcoming 19th season. Over the years, many cast members have come and gone, but lead star Ellen Pompeo has remained a constant on the series since its inception. Now, it seems that the show will see some returning characters and some that may be departing the series for a while.

According to a report by DeadlineGrey’s Anatomy stars Ellen Pompeo and Scott Speedman will see their character arcs scale back a bit in season 19. At the same time, other cast members have been confirmed to stay on the show for another go-around. Many of Grey’s Anatomy’s stars will return to Seattle Grace full-time, including series regulars Kevin McKidd, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens, Jr., Camilla Luddington, Kim Raver, Anthony Hill, Caterina Scorsone, Kelly McCreary, Chris Carmack, and Jake Borelli. TV Line reports that Pompeo will see her scenes cut back a bit in the upcoming season, as the actor is taking some time to focus on other projects and scale down her time on the Grey’s Anatomy set. On the other hand, Speedman will return to the series as a recurring guest star rather than a series regular, as his love interest storyline with Pompeo’s Meredith Grey has fizzled out.

grey's anatomy
Ellen Pompeo on Grey’s Anatomy

The welcome news that many of Grey’s Anatomy’s stars are returning to the next season of the show is a surprise for a project that has seen many cast members go the way of the dodo. Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens, Jr. may be the only actors left on the series that started with appearances in the first season. Grey’s Anatomy centers around the doctors and medical interns of Seattle Grace Hospital turned Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. The hospital’s name change is due in large part because several central characters have been killed off of the series, including Patrick Dempsey who portrayed Dr. Derek Shepherd, Eric Dane who played Dr. Mark Sloan, T.R. Knight who embodied Dr. George O’Malley, and so on. Actors Katherine Heigl, Sandra Oh, Isaiah Washington, Kate Walsh, and Sara Ramirez all helped establish Grey’s Anatomy during its first few seasons, all leaving to pursue other projects over time.

Ellen Pompeo’s future on Grey’s Anatomy may be limited for the upcoming season, but that hasn’t stopped Disney from honoring their actor. Since Disney owns ABC and Hulu, where Pompeo will be going next to star and produce an as-of-yet untitled project, they are choosing to honor the actor by making her a Disney Legend, per Deadline via Yahoo! Entertainment. Among the other Disney Legend Award recipients being honored at this year’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California are Pompeo’s former costar Patrick Dempsey, Anthony Anderson, Frozen star Kristen Bell and Tracee Ellis Ross.