Grey's Anatomy recently broke records and became the longest-running medical drama on TV. This is a big accomplishment for a series that had such a humble beginning. Now, almost 16 seasons have aired. Shonda Rhime's hit medical drama has been airing on ABC since 2005. It was the first series that the groundbreaking writer/director ever created and now she's a beloved showrunner. Grey's Anatomy is special and important for several reasons, and it's a series that is still very relevant today.
But it's worth noting that many fans of the show agree that Grey's has passed its golden years by now, and is starting to show its age. This is largely due to the fact that the series' has lost nearly every member of its original cast. All those beloved, fan-favorite characters who have since departed from Grey's will forever live on in fans' hearts, but there are some whose return we just can't help but hope for.
10 CALLIE TORRES
Grey's Anatomy took a significant hit when it lost three major characters, three seasons in a row. Season 10 brought the departure of Cristina Yang, season 11 saw Derek's untimely demise, and in season 12, fans lost another beloved member of Grey Sloan, Callie Torres.
Callie's departure was never actually meant to be a permanent thing. Sara Ramirez stated that she was simply taking a break from the show, but as time went on, chances of the revered orthopedic surgeon's return got slimmer and slimmer. But since Grey's Anatomy shows no signs of concluding its record-breaking time on the air, there is always a chance that Callie Torres will make her big comeback.
9 ARIZONA ROBBINS
Shonda Rhimes stepped down as showrunner of Grey's Anatomy in 2018, letting former head writer, Krista Vernoff, take over. This was a move that many fans were skeptical about, and rightfully so. When Vernoff stepped up to take on Grey's, she stated that there were too many characters in the main cast. This led her to make the decision to write out fan-favorites, April Kepner and Arizona Robbins.
Arizona was a groundbreaking character, and fans can only hope that Krista Vernoff will realize that her loss will not be good for the show.
8 APRIL KEPNER
April first joined the cast of Grey's in season 6 and became a series regular in season 7. She was another victim of new showrunner, Krista Vernoff's cuts. With April's departure taking place in season 14 (leaving Grey Sloan to live with her new husband, Matthew), many fans felt that her character arc was not done justice.
April had gone through an empowering evolution during her time on the show. Her storylines usually never failed to be inspired and profound. To have her abruptly up and leave her life at Grey Sloan and her career as a trauma surgeon, just seemed like a cop-out.
7 ADDISON MONTGOMERY
For a character who was really only on Grey's for a short time, Addison made quite an impression on the audience. She was such a success, in fact, that Shonda Rhimes wasted no time giving Addison her own spin-off series. This, of course, was Private Practice, which would conclude its six-season run in 2013.
After joining the cast of Private Practice, Addison made sporadic appearances on Grey's, but since the spin-off series ended, she has been completely absent from Shondaland altogether. Many fans would love to see the return of Addison.
6 PRESTON BURKE
Being an original character who first appeared on the show way back in the first season, Preston still holds a special place in many fans' hearts. Due to some controversy regarding the actor, Isaiah Washington, Preston was written out at the end of Grey's third season.
But the Grey's crew didn't miss the opportunity to bring Preston back for a quick guest appearance in a season 10 episode. This little snippet of the return of Preston Burke was widely loved by fans, and several viewers would no doubt be interested in seeing him return to Grey Sloan.
5 STEPHANIE EDWARDS
Being introduced as an intern in season 9, Stephanie was a victim of the rather poor character development that went into all of the new interns that season. As the years went on, though, Stephanie's character became more fleshed out.
By the time of her departure late in the thirteenth season, fans had actually grown to care for Stephanie. Her exit was very memorable, and had the viewers wanting to see more of her when it was unfortunately too late.
4 IZZIE STEVENS
Katherine Heigl remains to be probably the most controversial cast members ever to walk away from Grey's Anatomy. From her infamous drama with Shonda Rhimes to the rather disrespectful comments she made regarding the writing on Grey's, Heigl has garnered quite the reputation.
Nevertheless, her character, Izzie Stevens, remains a fan-favorite to this day. Despite having departed from the series back in 2008, longtime viewers still love the quirky resident and hope for her return.
3 MARK SLOAN
Since Mark tragically died in Grey's season 9 premiere, his return is virtually impossible. But that doesn't change the fact that so many of his fans want him back. Mark was one of the most beloved characters ever to appear on Grey's Anatomy.
Being introduced in season 2 as the notorious "McSteamy," Mark had some impressive and memorable character development. By the time of his demise, he had exceeded his reputation as McSteamy and was a truly evolved character.
2 LEXIE GREY
Lexie is another character who everyone misses and would love to see a return from, even though it would be pretty hard for the show to fulfill those wishes. Lexie's death happened at the same time as Mark's. The plane crash and the entire aftermath that took place in seasons 8 and 9, is recalled as one of Grey's most devastating storylines.
Lexie and Mark were considered soulmates by the majority of the fanbase, and like Mark, many fans would love to see Lexie Grey again.
1 CRISTINA YANG
With Cristina having left Grey Sloan in season 10 to pursue a greater career, and with Sandra Oh being the lead in Killing Eve, the return of beloved Dr. Yang seems to be getting less plausible, but definitely not impossible. Ever since Cristina was written out, her return is probably the most anticipated by fans.
Some would argue that Cristina was more important to the show than Meredith was. This is understandable, as Cristina never failed to be an extremely groundbreaking, empowering character. Cristina Yang was important - and always will be - and people will probably never stop wanting her to come back.