Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey in 'Grey's Anatomy'

This Grey’s Anatomy Premiere Promo Hints At Another Wedding

But of course, it looks like it will be derailed by a tragedy.

by Abby Monteil and Ani Bundel
Originally Published: 
ABC/Richard Cartwright

Somebody sedate me: Grey's Anatomy is officially coming back. Fans waited months to see whether Season 17 would be the final season of the beloved medical drama, but now they can rest assured knowing it will live on another year. So while you wait for a whole new season of Grey Sloan Memorial drama, here’s everything to know about Grey's Anatomy Season 18, from intel on its premiere date to its cast:

For a while, it seemed like the series was about to wrap up for good. It was unclear whether lead actor Ellen Pompeo would renew her contract with the show. In March, showrunner Krista Vernoff even confirmed she was writing the Season 17 ending as a season or series finale in case this would end up being the final season.

But viewers will be happy to know it’s officially a season finale, because Season 18 is on the horizon. Pompeo has signed on for another season, keeping her spot as one of the highest-paid actors on broadcast TV.

Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy have done an incredible job of honoring real-life heroes by giving audiences an unflinching look at one of the biggest medical stories of our time,” ABC Entertainment president Craig Erwich said in a statement about the renewal of both shows. “We look forward to sharing even more defining moments with our fans next season.”

Until everyone gets to see those defining moments for themselves, there’s a lot to speculate about Grey’s Anatomy Season 18.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 Trailer

After last year’s coronavirus delayed start, the new season is back to premiering in September, where it belongs, arriving the final Thursday of the month, Sept. 30, 2021. On Sept. 7, the first trailer arrived, showing Grey’s Anatomy’s return will once again be paired with the debut of Station 19 into a two-hour crossover event. The trailer also promised a major figure would return in the premiere, although who it is remains to be seen, as there are several significant characters returning this season.

The second trailer, which arrived on Sept. 20, 10 days before the premiere, gave another look at the upcoming crossover episode, though this time with a few new details, namely another wedding. But the ominous music suggests an emergency is ready to derail this ceremony, at least for the time being.

As for who returns from Meredith’s past... well, there are quite a few options, as the cast list for Season 18 reveals.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 Cast

It's no secret Grey’s will exist as long as Pompeo is willing to star in the show, so protagonist Meredith Grey will definitely be in Season 18. Longtime stars Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. have also signed on to return as Miranda Bailey and Richard Webber, respectively.

Series regulars Kim Raver, Camilla Luddington, and Kevin McKidd are also set to appear in Season 18, while other main actors like Kelly McCreary, Richard Flood, and Anthony Hill are expected to come back. Sadly, fan-favorite Jesse Williams is exiting the show in Season 17 after playing Jackson Avery for over a decade.

As always, there are also rumors of characters coming back as well. Season 17 was a parade of old faces as Meredith slipped in and out of consciousness while battling COVID, seeing everyone from Derek to Lexie. But one face didn’t turn up: Ellis Grey, her late mother, who died in Season 3. That will be rectified in Season 18, as actor Kate Burton, who was nominated twice for an Emmy for her turn as Meredith’s mother, will be back this season. Whether it’s a flashback or in her dreams remains to be seen.

But that’s not the only Kate on the roster to return this season. In one of the season’s most significant announcements, the long-anticipated return of actor Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Montgomery rocked the fandom. Walsh’s character was Derek’s first wife, and her exit from the show was due to Grey’s Anatomy’s first spinoff series, Private Practice, which ran five seasons.

Also coming back this year: Abigail Spencer, who plays Dr. Megan Hunt. TV Line confirmed the actor’s return to the series just hours before the Season 18 premiere promo debuted. Her character was presumed dead for years until her surprise debut in Season 14. Since exiting the series again, Spencer hasn’t been seen in a couple of seasons. Her return is sure to upend Teddy and Owen’s lives all over again, but it remains to be seen how permanent her return will be.

And there’s more! Grey’s Anatomy also adds new cast members every year. Season 18 will be no exception, with The O.C.’s Peter Gallagher arriving as Dr. Alan Hamilton. Though the production is giving little away about Dr. Hamilton, his arrival may hint how Meredith’s mom will return, as he apparently knew her a long time ago.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 Plot Details

Since Grey's Anatomy Season 17 has tackled important real-world issues like the coronavirus pandemic and the fight for racial equality in medicine, it’s only natural to assume that Season 18 will do the same. Beyond that, though, it’s unclear what ups and downs the Grey Sloan Memorial doctors will face next.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 Release Date

Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 will premiere on Thursday, Sept. 30, at its new time of 9 p.m. ET following the Station 19 Season 5 premiere on ABC.

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