When Grey's Anatomy began in 2005, the core cast consisted of Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers, T. R. Knight, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens Jr. As the show rounds in Season 17, most of those faces are gone, with only Pompeo, Wilson, and Pickens remaining after Chambers' abrupt exit. But when one door closes, another opens. Justin Chambers' Alex Karev may be gone, but his departure makes room for a guest star return. Fans are hopeful, could Cristina return to Grey's Anatomy Season 16?
Of those who left the show over the years, Sandra Oh's Cristina Yang has remained the most popular. Meredith's best friend for the series first 10 seasons, Yang was finally written off the show by sending her to Switzerland, when a surprise job offer pops up that she cannot turn down.
That's the way of Grey's Anatomy. Though a few characters (like the famous McDreamy) are killed off when the show sends them packing, most leave for other reasons. Even Katherine Heigl's Izzie Stevens was allowed to walk off when her marriage to Alex crumbled, though there was some ugly behind-the-scenes drama. It's rare that the show brings any of them back, mind you. (Kim Raver's return as Teddy Altman after being gone for five years is a rare comeback.) But the door is always open.
That's why fans are hoping that Alex's exit might make way for a Cristina comeback. It's been six years and counting since Yang left in 2014, and a guest arc visit wouldn't just be welcome, but for some fans, probably overdue.
Season 16 already teased Yang's continuing existence in the Grey's Anatomy universe. Cristina texted Meredith several times at the beginning of this season. She even suggested Grey come work with her in Switzerland after Meredith was fired from Grey-Sloan.
Oh initially seemed open to the idea of a return when she first left the series. But since landing the lead in Killing Eve on BBC America, her stance has changed. Killing Eve is now in its third season (premiering Apr. 26) and already renewed for a fourth in 2021.
Moreover, Killing Eve isn't the only show on Oh's plate. She's been tapped to play the lead in another high-profile project a six-episode half-hour dramedy, called The Chair. According to Entertainment Weekly:
The brief description shared by Netflix states the show is “centered around the Chair of an English department at a major university.” Oh will star alongside The Morning Show's Jay Duplass, and she’ll also executive produce alongside series writer and showrunner Amanda Peet.
Combined with her Killing Eve commitments, it's doubtful Oh will have time to swing by Grey-Sloan for a visit. But fans will keep hoping anyway.