See Grey's Anatomy's Epic Cast Photo As Season 'Sweet 16' Starts Filming

Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Miranda Bailey smiling Catherine Fox ABC

Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital has opened its doors for Grey's Anatomy Season 16! Last year was The Season of Love and the 2019-2020 season already has its own natural designation as "Season Sweet 16." Granted, the Season 15 finale didn't leave too many storylines on sweet endings, but there's hope on the horizon.

First of all, look at all the smiling faces excited to return for Grey's Anatomy Season 16:

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Man, that's a lot of people. Grey's Anatomy just promoted three recurring stars to series regular status for Season 16, on top of our beloved characters from the past years. You can see Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey) seated at left, next to Jesse Williams (Jackson Avery), whose contract was in dispute for a minute until he signed on for this season and Season 17 (although there's a catch).

Next to them is James Pickens Jr. (Richard Webber), getting some shoulder support from Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey). It looks like most of the main cast is accounted for, in this photo credited to the great Debbie Allen, who plays Catherine Fox and regularly directs episodes.

Color me mildly surprised that Justin Chambers (Alex Karev) isn't at the front with fellow OGs Pompeo, Pickens, and Wilson. But that's OK, 'cause he's toward the back near his on-screen partner, Camilla Luddington (Jo Wilson Karev).

Speaking of the lovely Camilla, she got the Grey's Anatomy "Season Sweet 16" ball rolling late last week as a preview to this week's return to set:

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Camilla Luddington's Jo had a tough back half of Grey's Anatomy Season 15. The finale -- which was written by showrunner Krista Vernoff and directed by Debbie Allen -- showed Jo take a leave of absence and commit herself to the psych ward. We can hope she will emerge stronger in Grey's Anatomy Season 16, and pray that she and Alex can just be happy in their marriage after so much drama. They've earned a break.

Things aren't too much easier for anyone else, though. First of all, Jackson is literally missing. That's where we left him anyway, in the fog. It's not clear yet when Season 16 will pick up, but he and Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) had a really tense camping trip and that storyline ended as they headed back into Seattle. Their car got stuck in a fog pileup and Jackson walked out to investigate what happened, and Maggie couldn't find him again.

Things are arguably even worse for everyone caught up in Meredith Grey's insurance fraud scandal. Mer's Season 15 love interest Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) took the blame for Mer's actions, but Mer fessed up and said it was her idea. Bailey ended up firing Meredith and Alex and Richard because they were all part of what happened. So will Meredith go to jail?

At least there's some good news: Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) had her baby with Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd), and they named the little girl Allison. Someone has to break the bad news to my man Tom Koracick (Greg Germann), though, since he was last seen putting together Teddy's nursery, still assuming he and Teddy were together. Nope. Now Teddy and Owen are squarely a couple and starting a new life with their new baby. Poor Tom. He's one of the new series regulars, though, so we didn't lose him in the deal.

Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) seems to be moving on fine from Owen, and she's ready to see Atticus "Link" Lincoln (Chris Carmack) as more than just alternative pain relief. Also, Nico Kim (Alex Landi) finally apologized for being a jerk and he and Levi Schmitt (Jake Borelli) are together again -- plus, Levi came out to his mom and introduced Nico as his boyfriend.

So there are a lot of dark storylines to resolve, but also a lot to look forward to. Grey's Anatomy Season 16 just started filming in late July and it will premiere Thursday, September 26 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.