Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams are coming back to Grey’s Anatomy for the finale

Spoilers for past episodes of Grey’s Anatomy
Well, they teased it earlier this year and now we know it’s happening. Sarah Drew, who portrays Dr. April Kepner on Grey’s Anatomy, said last month that she would “absolutely” return to Grey’s given the chance. Sarah played April for nine seasons, left the show in 2018, and returned for Jesse Williams’s penultimate episode last year. Now they’ll both be back for the season 18 finale in May.

The two of them did play a bit coy with this! Sarah made her comment in that March interview, Jesse made one of his own in a February interview, and Sarah posted a cute photo of herself in NY with Jesse’s poster for his Broadway show, Take Me Out. His show is running now after a long delay (it was supposed to premiere in 2020) and it opened on March 28 (on the 27th I was stuck on a delayed flight with someone attending). Based on the schedule, they must have filmed this before the play opened, around the time they both talked about a potential return.

Japril couldn’t stay away for long.

Jesse Williams and Sarah Drew are both returning to the world of Grey’s Anatomy for the season 18 finale, which will air May 26, EW has confirmed.

The actors, who play doctors Jackson Avery and April Kepner, a.k.a. the fan-favorite couple Japril, last appeared during season 17 of Grey’s, when Williams departed the show after 12 seasons. Drew, who’d previously left the show in season 14, returned to help give Jackson a proper sendoff (and give fans some hope).

Specifically, Jackson went to April and told her he was moving to Boston to run the family business. He then asked her to move with him so that he could be close to their daughter. Not only did April agree to go with him to Boston, but she revealed that she’d recently separated from her husband. And just like that, there was hope for Japril shippers.

Jackson appeared in one more episode after that to say goodbye to everyone at the hospital, after which he told EW, “I feel great. I feel humbled by not only the response, but the way we were able to really craft a departure for him that makes sense, that’s connected to his history. I feel really honored by having the opportunity to really form a story with our writers that honors the character and the characters around him, that world, and also has a connection to the real world.”

He also spoke to the possibility of a return, saying, “I think it’s possible. He’s not dead! He’s still working with the foundation. He’s everybody’s boss. So I think it’s possible. We’ll have to see.”

Now both Jackson and April are set to return, and hopefully give an update on how Boston is treating them.

[From Entertainment Weekly]

I am excited about this. I do want to know what happened to JApril. I know a lot of people who disagree, but I liked them, both together and separately. I was sad that they seemed to part ways for good and April (extremely unrealistically) married Matthew, and I was glad that Jackson’s send-off episode seemed like it would bring them back together offscreen. And we’ll find out what happened soon enough! Maybe Jesse’s Jackson Avery character will rub off on him and he can get his divorce/custody settled more amicably. Also, I heard that Jesse gets his, ah, Williams, out in his play. He’s very dreamy, but I don’t need to see that, nor does it make a baseball-centric play more interesting to me.

Getting to the larger topic of Grey’s, it doesn’t bode well for the show that a longtime fan like me cares little about any of the current main characters and is most excited for the brief returns of past characters. It seems like they’re relying heavily on the returns of old faves like Addison, Jackson, and April to drum up interest in the current series. To which I say, maybe it’s time to wind it down. I’ve been watching long enough to remember when Grey’s stunt casting included the likes of Mandy Moore, Demi Lovato, Wilmer Valderrama, Bernadette Peters, Geena Davis, Christina Ricci, Kyle Chandler, two out of three Halliwell sisters, Keke Palmer… I could go on forever because this show has been on forever. It seems like there’s no forward momentum with casting anymore. They’re not pulling exciting guest stars to play patients because pretty much every actor has been on the show in the 18 years it’s aired. The show has already been renewed for a 19th season and my working theory is they’re hoping to go out on an even 20. I like the even number too, but they already beat ER. Hopefully they can get it together to go out on a high note.

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6 Responses to “Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams are coming back to Grey’s Anatomy for the finale”

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  1. Miranda says:

    Totally agree about my level of interest in the show. It’s wild to me that this premiered while I was in high school. I took years off but came back to it. And JApril was my favorite. I’m will toon back in to check it out.

    But as long as I’m leaving a comment on a site with insider info: why was Karev ghosted out of the show? The best character with an arch and redemption and who we’ve watched for decades…. Just gone?

    • osito says:

      Re: Karev — I want to know the real reason, too.

      What I heard at the time was that Justin Chambers simply wanted out — he has six kids (I think) with his wife and he was ready to be home full-time with his family.

      If that’s the real reason, I’m fine with it — and, actually, I applaud him for retiring when he was ready — but then I have soooo many production-related questions. Questions about why it happened in the middle of a season; why after building such a strong romantic relationship between two characters; why after one character had a breakdown that the other character was entirely supportive through with *zero hint* that he had been pining for his ex wife for 10 years? Also the secret kids thing? Where on earth would that result in anything but a grueling, extremely hostile custody battle?

      I get that Justin Chambers may have surprised the production team with his desire to exit, but they could have given the character a more graceful exit, even if just to stop the audience members from speculating that the writing team had completely lost the plot.

      • Kath says:

        Definitely, Karev was my favorite character and his exit was so poorly thought out. He would never do that to Jo! Especially while she was still healing from her trauma.

    • FHMom says:

      Karev’s exit was the absolute worst. The. Worst. The writers need flogging for that. Or else Shonda just had it with him? For some reason, I want to say Covid played a part in his hasty departure. Good for him if he really just wanted to be with his kids, but unless it was an emergency situation, it makes zero sense.

      Also, yay for the return of April and Jackson. At least they are on good terms with Shonda

    • Des says:

      IIRC a long time ago JC went to rehab because he had issues with alcohol and either divorced or was close to divorce because of it. When he exited in that fashion and nobody in the production would even discuss it, I figured the old demons had come back and he needed to make a drastic choice for his own sake. There’s no way an actor quits like that in the middle of a 15 year run and his management lets him and the production house stands by and his costars don’t say beep — unless something terrible happened. I hope he’s doing better now.

    • AmyB says:

      I agree too about the show now. I am a long time Grey’s Anatomy fan, and I will stick it out to the end, but I have so little interest in the characters now, and I can see why they are bringing back some of the OGs, like Addison, Jackson & April. I was a big fan of Japril, and I am excited to see what happened with them!

      Re: Alex Karev and that horrendous exit??? I think that was almost the last straw for me! The writers literally ruined his entire character development throughout the series by doing what he did! Go back to fucking Izzie??????? And leave Jo like that? NO WAY! I mean if Justin Chambers had some serious issues, and needed to leave, I totally understand that. But come on…. you can’t come up with something better than that pile of garbage??? That was almost worse than the plane crash in Season 8 LOL!! I still hate Shonda for killing Mark and Lexie…haha

      But, I do hope they wrap this show up soon. I don’t want to see it get any worse.