We hope you’re sitting down for this one, Grey’s Anatomy fans.
Because just over a week since truly stunning television viewers everywhere with one unexpected return… we have a reason to believe this series may soon do it again.
On the Season 17 premiere, Patrick Dempsey came back as Derek Shepherd.
We still can’t believe that sentence is accurate.
But the opening episode ended with Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith collapsing in a parking lot… due to COVID-19 we later learned… and being transported in her mind to a beach.
At the other end of that beach? Her late husband.
Dempsey also appeared on this week’s installment and is likely to reprise his role as McDreamy on at least one more installment.
Might he only be the first past character to appear in the present, though? Might another soon be on the way?
On Thursday, November 19, Pompeo fueled rumors that Katherine Heigl — who left the show in 2010 after playing Izzie Stevens for the first six seasons — could conceivably be next.
"Hey it’s Grey’s day!!!" Pompeo Tweeted, however, alongside a GIF showing her and Heigl’s characters together in a season three episode.
Naturally, fans freaked out in response, speculating, as one person tweeted, "IZZIE COMING BACK??"
"Hey… could you hint us who’s next on the beach?" another person tweeted, to which Pompeo replied:
Unlike Derek, of course, Izzie was not killed off Grey’s Anatomy.
The character was written off afterr Heigl insulted the program’s writers, as she actress departed under pretty bitter circumstances.
But that was a long time ago — and Dempsey made it clear in his own post-return interviews that time can heal almost all wounds.
Salivating over Pompeo’s post, another user wrote, "IS IT GEORGE…we gotta wait 2 mf weeks??? I can’t."
Pompeo wrote back: "That @ABCNetwork promo department are messing with y’all in a major way no? @GreysABC"
There is another reason, though, why Pompeo may have shared her Heigl GIF.
A few days ago, Isaiah Washington rekindled his feud with Heigl for some reason.
"This woman once proclaimed that I should ‘never’ be allowed to speak publicly again," wrote Washington along with a photo of Heigl, adding:
"The world agreed with her proclamation back then and protested for my job and my head in 65 languages.
"I wish I was on Twitter in 2007, because I will NEVER stop exercising my free speech."
Pompeo may simply having been taking Heigl’s side in her long-forgotten feud with Washington by sharing that GIF above.
In 2008, two years prior to her departure, Heidl infamously withdrew her name from Emmy contention.
"I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the Academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention," she said in a statement at the time.
"In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials."
Shonda Rhimes, who is no longer the Grey’s Anatomy showrunner, commented on Heigl’s Emmy snub on Oprah’s Next Chapter.
She was clearly annoyed by the star’s words.
"On some level it stung, and on some level I was not surprised," she told Oprah Winfrey.
"When people show you who they are, believe them. I carry that with me a lot. It has served me well."