Patrick Dempsey is officially done with Grey's Anatomy, at least for Season 17. The Enchanted actor confirmed his appearance in last week's episode "Good as Hell" was his final one for now. It was Dempsey's fourth appearance on the show as Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepard and his last appearance on Meredith's dream beach. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) dreamed about finally marrying Derek on the beach, which Dempsey called a "beautiful way to close" his time on the show this season.
"The intention was to really give people some hope because they are such an iconic couple," Dempsey said in a new interview with Variety. "We’ve lost so many people this year, the thought that we’d have angels hovering around us taking care of us is a good message to send out in such a bleak world that we’re living in. So for all of us, it was a beautiful ending to this story. I’m so grateful that I did it and happy that the fans really loved it."
Dempsey first left the show in 2015, after Derek was killed in a car accident. During the Season 17 premiere, "The Center Won't Hold," Dempsey made a surprising appearance in Meredith's dreams after she was diagnosed with the coronavirus. He also appeared in "My Happy Ending" and "It's All Too Much." In "Good as Hell," Derek said goodbye to Meredith for the final time with a wedding in her dreams, something they never did before his death.
"We all cried at the beginning and we hugged each other," Dempsey said of filming the last scene. "It was really for us to get the message out there to wear a mask, take care of yourself. Ellen and I were like, 'What can we do together to make some impact here?' That was in the spring around this time last year. It just was a positive action that reverberates into more positive action."
ABC still has not renewed Grey's Anatomy for an 18th season, but if it does, Dempsey left the door open for his return. When asked if he saw any way his deceased character could come back, Dempsey left it up to showrunner Krista Vernoff to come up with some way to bring him back. "Never say never with this show, right? I’m glad we did it this year," he told Variety. "And Krista Vernoff did a fantastic job telling the story. It was just a great way to give people some hope."
Elsewhere in his interview with Variety, Dempsey provided an update on the long-gestating Enchanted sequel with Amy Adams. In December, Disney officially announced the project, which will be titled Disenchanted and released on Disney+, but there has not been much news about it since. Dempsey said he is talking to director Adam Shankman and the story is "getting better and better." Dempsey confirmed most of the cast is back and said now is the best time for an Enchanted sequel. "To work with everybody again after 14 years is just really exciting," he said. "We need some escapism right now. We need those romantic comedies and those musicals to get people out of the doldrums that we’re in."