Grey’s Anatomy bid farewell to April Kepner and Arizona Robbins on Thursday night’s season 14 finale. But just how did the ABC drama say goodbye to the fan favorite characters, and could they potentially return?
April (Sarah Drew) has left her job as a trauma surgeon at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, two weeks after a near-fatal experience almost left her dead.
While she’s been dedicating her time to working with homeless communities by providing medical care, April also meticulously plans the wedding of Alex Karev and Jo Wilson, only to have it be disrupted when the couple gets stuck in a shed after a quick rendezvous before the wedding.
While her dream wedding for her friends doesn’t come true, April received her own fairytale ending when her boyfriend Matthew Taylor — who she left at the altar in season 10 — proposes to her in front of Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) and ex-husband Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams).
April accepts and marries him right then, with Arizona and Jackson serving as their witnesses.
Meanwhile, Arizona is set on moving to New York City with her daughter, Sofia, in order to keep her close to both herself and ex-wife Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez).
Earlier in the episode, Arizona opens up to April and Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.) about enjoying her recent communication with Callie. Both women are single at this time in the series, leaving viewers questioning if there is a chance they could reignite their romance.
Capshaw first joined the show as Arizona Robbins in season 5 before becoming a series regular in season 6.
“For the past 10 years, I have had the rare privilege of not only playing Arizona Robbins, but also being madly in love with playing her. Arizona Robbins is kind, intelligent, funny, insightful, bold, playful, fierce and really good at her job,” Capshaw tweeted in March.
“She was one of the first members of the LGBTQ community to be represented in a series regular role on network television. Her impact on the world is permanent and forever. Forever,” the star said of her fan-favorite character.
“I am grateful that I have gotten to bring her to life and for the life that she has brought to me. I am sad to see her go, but I am consoled by the idea that she will continue to live on and on in all of our consciences and our imaginations. Shonda, thank you for the ride on this incredible rollercoaster. With a heart full of love, Jessica,” she concluded.
Drew, who joined the show in season 6 as April Kepner, addressed the news of her departure on social media, writing, “Hey guys. Thank you for all of the love. I know you’re sad. I’m sad too. I haven’t really had the time to process this information.”
“I’ve been with it for less than 48 hours, so I’m not ready to say my thank yous and give an all encompassing statement about my 9 years here,” she continued. “That will come later For now, I’d like to say: I love you, and I love April, and her story isn’t over yet.”
She added, “And the really good news (for me, at least) is that I’m here on set shadowing one of my favorite people, Kevin McKidd, with my beloved Grey’s family all this week and next, so I get to process all of my feelings surrounded by the community that has nourished and nurtured me for almost a decade. For that, I am so grateful.”
Deadline reported that the decision for Capshaw and Drew’s exits was based strictly on the show’s creative direction. Star Ellen Pompeo vigorously denied a report connecting their departures to her new $20 million salary.
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“It’s absolutely not true,” she said. “I mean, I’m not involved in these kind of decisions. However, there are a few problems that you encounter doing a show for 14 seasons. One of them is that writers have a really hard time creatively, thinking up new stories for all these characters. It’s always sad when we lose people, for whatever reason.”
“I think that it’s important for us to not pit women against each other and to really dispel the notion that women are always victims,” she added. “We’re not enemies, we do lift each other up and support each other, and we’re not victims. We’re very strong, and we’re capable of many, many things.”