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4 Theories About Alex Karev's Fate On 'Grey's Anatomy' After Justin Chambers' Exit

Grey's Anatomy fans have weathered a whole a lot of heartbreak throughout the series' 16-season run. But fans suffered perhaps the hardest of heartbreaks most recently, when it was announced that Justin Chambers — aka Dr. Alex Karev — wouldn't be returning to the show. The actor has been a series regular from the very beginning, so his exit is a hard blow to fans who have grown attached to him. Making things even worse is the fact that, as of Jan. 21, fans still don't know how Chambers' character will leave the show, meaning the theories about Alex Karev's fate on Grey's Anatomy are truly all over the place.

The second-most shocking piece of news (after, of course, Chambers' exit from Grey's Anatomy) is the fact that his last episode has already aired. That means Alex isn't going to get any kind of heartfelt on-screen goodbye; instead his exit will simply be explained through dialogue. Since the Jan. 23 episode of Grey's Anatomy will follow up on the terrifying car crash that happened at the end of the Season 16 winter finale, some fans are worried Karev will end up being involved in the accident in some kind of fatal way. However, fans also have other ideas that include a much more peaceful goodbye for Alex. No matter which of these theories end up being true, it's going to be heart-wrenching farewell for fans. Here are some possibilities to consider:

ABC/Mike Rosenthal

1. Alex Dies

This would be tough to watch, but it also would be far from the first time Grey's Anatomy has killed off a beloved character. In this case, it could make sense to tie Chambers' exit to the big car crash. One fan on Reddit wrote:

It's almost definite that they killed him off-screen during the car accident. His final scene was already shown and the last scene was the car crashing into Joe's. I can see them pulling a George and having Alex saving someones life but dies and all we see is a body covered by a sheet.

2. Alex Moves To Be Closer To His Mom

The last audiences heard about Alex, he was in Iowa visiting his mom. There's a chance he might just stay there to be with her, and possibly to start a family of his own. One Reddit user has an optimistic take on Alex's future, including a happy ending for his wife Jo (Camila Luddington). They said:

My hope is that Jo is gonna tell everyone that Alex's mom is sick and he's gonna stay there to take care of her indefinitely. Later on, Jo will decide to move to Iowa with him and start a new life there. Depending on what the aftermath is with her stealing the safe haven baby, she'll take the baby with her and they can be a family or they'll decide they want to start their family in Iowa away from Seattle. At least this way, we'll know that they're parents even if it's not on screen.

3. Alex & Jo Move Away Together

Other fans think Alex and Jo will leave Seattle together for some kind of professional opportunity. That theory makes sense, especially since that's the way the show handled the exit of another beloved character, Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh).

4. Alex & Jo Break Up

There are also some fans who are worried about the future of Alex and Jo's marriage. After all, as far as audiences know, Jo still has a full life in Seattle, so there's no reason for her to leave the show. That could mean Alex is going to break things off and move on without her, which could be the most heartbreaking ending of all.

Season 16 of Grey's Anatomy returns to ABC on Jan. 23 with a two-hour crossover event with Station 19 starting at 8 p.m. ET.