The halls of Grey Sloan Memorial are going to be a little emptier next season, and we’re all going to be a little worse off for it too.
Grey’s Anatomy (Thursdays at 7 p.m. ET on CTV) showrunner Krista Vernon and creator Shonda Rhimes have confirmed that should the series return for a 15th season this fall, it will do so without two major characters: Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) and April Kepner (Sarah Drew). Cue the waterworks now, folks.
Although details surrounding the exits are being kept under wraps (as per usual), TVLine reports that both actresses are being written out of the series for “creative reasons,” meaning that the writers feel as though there’s no more story to write for the characters.
“The characters of Arizona and April are permanently woven into the fabric of Grey’s Anatomy thanks to the extraordinary work of Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew,” Vernoff said in a statement. “As writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with these phenomenally talented actresses.”
Considering that Arizona represents a huge LGBTQ portion of the series and that April is an often underrepresented Christian character, it seems kind of harsh that they’re leaving so abruptly. Then again, Arizona has been put through the ringer over her 10 years on the series, having survived a plane crash, an epic breakup with Callie (Sara Ramirez), losing a leg and plenty of heartbreaking peds cases.
And for her part, over the last nine years April has had lots of romantic entanglements, ups and downs within the hospital, a trip overseas to serve, that harrowing pregnancy loss and then her equally harrowing delivery following her second pregnancy. Maybe pushing these ladies any further would just be an overall disservice. At least their contributions are something that Rhimes is acknowledging.
“It’s always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters. Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic — both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV,” she said. “I will be forever grateful to both Jessica and Sarah for bringing these characters to life with such vibrant performance and for inspiring women around the globe. They will always be a part of our Shondaland family.”
Well I, for one, will be sad to see them both go. On top of their unique and often quirky characteristics that are always fun to watch, the Arizona-Kepner friendship has been one I’ve always enjoyed immensely. We need more of that kind of girl power in our lives.
Of course, this is all assuming that Grey’s is even renewed for a 15th season. As of right now ABC still hasn’t made an official announcement, but given the continued ratings success and star Ellen Pompeo‘s massive new contract, I’d say it’s pretty much a sure thing.