'Grey's Anatomy' Star James Pickens Shares First Look at New Cast Ahead of Season 19

Grey's Anatomy star James Pickens, Jr. welcomed the new Season 19 cast members with a photo from the Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital set last week. The new members of the Grey's family include Niko Terho, Adelaide Kane, Midori Francis, Harry Shum, Jr., and Alexis Floyd. Pickens is one of only three Grey's stars to appear in all 18 previous seasons, alongside Ellen Pompeo and Chandra Wilson.

"Let's give a warm welcome to the new Interns of the Grey's family, excited for Season 19," Pickens wrote on Aug. 10. "This picture makes me SO happy Jim," Jake Borelli, who joined Grey's in 2017, commented. Kim Raver, who has suggested she might come back in Season 19, simply wrote, "YESSSSS!!"

Before the Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards over the weekend, Grey's star Kevin McKidd praised his new co-stars and described Season 19 as a "reignition" of the series. "We have this amazing group of new interns, brilliant, young, vibrant actors who are really passionate," McKidd, who plays Dr. Owen Hunt, told PEOPLE. "So it's making room for that. It's almost like we're going back to the beginning if that makes sense."

"We're not really rebooting, but it's definitely that pilot episode when Sandra Oh and T.R. Knight first kind of walked into the hospital," McKidd continued. "We're kind of doing that again. And it's very exciting to feel that we're all part of that."

Season 19 is a turning point for Grey's Anatomy since ABC confirmed Pompeo's Meredith Grey will only appear in eight episodes. Her workload has been lighter in the past two seasons, but Meredith decided to stay in Seattle at the end of Season 18. Pompeo will continue to serve as narrator for every episode and stay on as executive producer. ABC hasn't said if Season 19 will be the show's last, so the show's future could depend on how well fans embrace the new cast. Pompeo was recently cast in a Hulu series based on the true story of Natalia Grace.

"Definitely her character is such a dominant, iconic character on the show," McKidd told PEOPLE when asked about Meredith's future. "It's definitely going to make some room for different stories to be told. So I think everyone is excited about that." Grey's Anatomy Season 19 kicks off on Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. ET, following Station 19.