The next one year will have seen long-running shows come to an end, with The Big Bang Theory having just concluded and Supernatural bowing out with its fifteenth season. On the other side of this is Grey’s Anatomy, which has already been renewed for a seventeenth season even before Season 16 has started.
This means we have room for many former characters to return next year, but this should include characters whose returns make sense and the fans want. We wouldn’t want to see those characters who’ve either gotten their proper ending, or those who we were happy to see leave in the first place. With that in mind, here are 5 Characters we want to see return, and 5 we don’t want.
10 Don't: Nathan Riggs
There are very couplings in Grey’s Anatomy that remain together; we see them get married, but they always end up divorcing. Nathan got a very nice ending for himself, with the character moving away with Owen’s sister Megan and her son. Bringing him back would require for his previous storyline to end, and that would only be done by either separating the couple or having Megan die—both of which sound awful. As far as Nathan is concerned, his story is over and him having a nice, happy ending is what is best to remain with the character. So, we don’t need to see him again on the show.
9 Return: Cristina Yang
Even Cristina got her own kind of happy ending when she moved abroad to run her own hospital. She was just the type of character who didn’t need a relationship to be happy; her work had been her true calling.
However, we do need to see just what the heck she’s been up to this whole time. We’ve heard about her from Meredith, but it’s hard to believe they’re never on regular meeting terms with each other. Cristina should come back for at least a short stint in Season 16, where she interacts with Owen and marvels at his change of life—the ex-wife, the Baby Mama, and the baby. She should also reassure Meredith that they are still each other’s “Person”.
8 Don't: April Kepner
It’s too bad the actress got fired when she felt she still had years to contribute on the show, but letting her go was the right thing to do according to storyline terms. April just got to her expiration date; that’s the honest truth. Her stories were really reaching by the end, and the reality is she had nowhere else to go.
Her finale was in line with the character, with her departure also opening up Jackson to finally have stories of his own. She’s already been taken as low as she could in her life, so there’s no point in showing her having any more problems. Her time’s up.
7 Return: Izzie Stevens
No matter how you feel about the departure of the actress, the fact of the matter is we all want to see Izzie return. It’s at the top of the wish list for Grey’s Anatomy fans to see Alex and Izzie together – not as a couple, but at least interact with each other.
Ideally, Izzie should come back only as a recurring character in the season, where she tries to reintegrate herself in Seattle once more, only to realize everyone really has moved on. Her return should close out her character, with Izzie realizing the ship has sailed for herself and Alex. Plus, we can finally see Alex get over her.
6 Don't Return: Stephanie
Stephanie was always out of place within the show. It’s a surprise she lasted as long as she did, as she was always playing second fiddle to everyone. Her stories were basically rehashing of previous ones we’ve seen; her first one being where Jackson basically used her to get over April, then promptly leaving her.
Her second major one was almost exactly the same Teddy had had, where a patient became her love interest before passing away. Nobody’s exactly clamoring for a Stephanie return, and if she does come back, no one’s really going to care what she’s going to be doing.
5 Return: Preston Burke
The actor was fantastic in his performance, and his storylines always ignored the usual love tropes you find. Burke was also an intriguing character because you kind of disliked him but also liked him for some unexplained reason.
His scenes with Cristina in Season 10 proved they had incredible chemistry still, and now that Cristina is not on the show, Burke can have fresh storylines of his own. One would imagine he can have intriguing arcs with someone like Owen, who was like the anti-Burke when he first showed up. There’s a lot that can still be done with this guy, and it would be cool to see him again.
4 Don't: Arizona Robbins
Please, no! Arizona turned into easily the most unlikable character from Season 9 onwards, and her departure was a relief for many. There were hardly any redemptive qualities left in Arizona, with her ending even feeling shoehorned so that we could see her moving away without returning.
The show has been better off without Arizona constantly making wrong choices (cheating on Callie, having affairs with junior staff members, among others), and then whining about them as if she didn’t deserve any of it. Letting her go was like wiping the slate clean with a character that went the wrong way, and Arizona should stay gone.
3 Return: Addison Montgomery
Yes, Addison got a very perfect ending for herself on Private Practice, after which she’s never been seen or heard from again; however, it has been a very long time, and we’d love to see where she is now. Since Derek and Mark are deceased now, there’s no point in introducing her with a love interest angle, but she can come back for an arc that reminds the other characters about self-growth.
We could see Addison trying to move back to Seattle with her husband and son, and for her to realize everyone in the hospital is still concerned with problems she’s moved on from. This way, those around her will have context over how they can overcome their problems the way Addison did.
2 Don't: Callie Torres
Callie kept having a bumpy ride throughout her ten-year tenure on Grey’s Anatomy, and by its end, you can’t really say she achieved much of anything. We thought she had a nice ending with her new love interest after she moved away, only to find out they broke up and now she’s interested in Arizona again for some reason.
Bringing her back would mean she and Arizona broke up yet again (we’ve honestly lost count of these two), and it’ll be Callie once again being lost and confused. It’s better to keep her away, where we can imagine her doing better on her own–and hopefully having found someone better than Arizona by now.
1 Return: Derek Shephard
Yes, the guy’s dead, but that doesn’t mean he still can’t come back in a recurring role. We saw a deceased love interest fulfill this role in Denny during Season 5, and who’s stopping Derek from doing the same?
With Meredith now admitting to DeLuca that she’s in love with him, it’s time to show us her reflecting over how Derek would feel about this. And we’re not talking flashbacks or archive footage; we’d like to see her imagine having conversations with Derek. The end of his arc should naturally be with Meredith acknowledging she loved him the most, but that she now has a new life to live with DeLuca. In any case, who wouldn’t like more of McDreamy?