'Grey's Anatomy' Star Ellen Pompeo Sparks Rumors of Katherine Heigl Return After Latest Episode

With Season 17 of Grey's Anatomy currently underway and showcasing surprises for longtime viewers, fans are in for a treat for the coming episodes! While Patrick Dempsey returned for a dream sequence this season, he may not be the only one back. After this past week's episode, fans are now speculating Katherine Heigl's Dr. Izzie Stevens will be the next to make a comeback, according to a tease by Ellen Pompeo.

A tease from Thursday's episode revealed that another person from Dr. Grey's past "will return" but did not reveal which character it would be. Ahead of the episode, Pompeo tweeted out an animated GIF that showed her character joking around with Heigl's. She wrote that it was "Grey's Day" and prompted several responses from fans of the show.

"IZZIE COMING BACK TONIGHT??? WITH ALEX ????" one person commented. Several others began posting theories about the upcoming episode. There is no definitive answer at the moment due to the episode teaser only showing Grey calling out an unidentified person on a beach. Of course, the fans now have to wait two weeks for the episode due to Thanksgiving.

Season 17 kicked off with a head-turning premiere, one that focused on COVID-19. The episode culminated with Meredith (Pompeo) found unconscious in the parking lot of Grey Sloan Memorial by Cormac (Richard Flood). The show then moved to a dream sequence which featured her character on the beach and watching waves crash against the shore. In the final seconds of the episode, someone could be heard calling her name. The revelation was that the voice belonged to Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd (Dempsey).

Pompeo saw the theories about Izzie's return and had some fun with the fans. She tweeted a follow-up message that only further created intrigue. "If you really think about it... there's a lot of people it could be," Pompeo wrote, only further sparking debates on social media.


Pompeo is correct about the number of potential guest stars that could return for the post-Thanksgiving episode. Justin Chambers' Alex Karev just left the show in January, leaving his wife Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington) to get back together with the former flame. Heigl's character, on the other hand, made an abrupt exit from the show in 2010 and is technically still alive. T.R. Knight's George O'Malley could also return in a manner similar to McDreamy after he died in the Season 5 finale.

Finally, Cristina Yang, played by Sandra Oh, left the show during the Season 10 finale in 2014. She has continued working on Killing Eve but some fans believe that she could return for a special episode. Other options could be Callie Torres, played by Sara Ramirez, Mark Sloane, played by Eric Dane or Lexi Grey, played by Chyler Leigh.