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Grey's Anatomy Jerrika Hinton as Dr. Stephanie Edwards ABC

Grey's Anatomy just dropped a huge bomb on fans with the loss of Justin Chambers as Alex Karev. It sent fans walking down memory lane, thinking about all of the major characters we've lost in the past few years -- including Dr. Stephanie Edwards in Grey's Anatomy Season 13's fiery finale. Will we ever see Stephanie again? Well, Jerrika Hinton just gave CinemaBlend an update during the TCA 2020 winter press tour.

In Stephanie's case, Grey's Anatomy fans at least had warning of her departure, since it made news that actress Jerrika Hinton had landed a new TV show. There were fears that Shonda Rhimes might kill off Stephanie in her final episode. Instead, Stephanie had a heroic exit in the Season 13 finale, and just announced she was quitting Grey Sloan. She got to live.

Jerrika Hinton left Grey's Anatomy for Alan Ball's HBO show Here and Now, but now she's a main cast member for Amazon's new show Hunters, which follows a band of Nazi hunters living in New York City in 1977. The show premieres February 21, 2020 on Amazon Prime Video.

While Jerrika Hinton talked to CinemaBlend's own Nick Venable about Hunters, he asked if she'd ever be willing to bring Stephanie back to Grey's Anatomy. Here's what she said:

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It depends. It depends on the format, you know? It depends on what the story is. You never say never to things like that. That was such a fundamental experience in my career, and so never say never. Although I am enjoying the world outside, certainly, in the current moment.

Grey's Anatomy fans were happy to at least see Stephanie get such a positive exit and get to stay alive. Jerrika Hinton knows many fans still have a lot of love for Stephanie:

I do appreciate how beloved she still is with fans. That's also a very wonderful gift.

Jerrika Hinton joined Grey's Anatomy in the recurring role of Dr. Stephanie Edwards in Season 9 and became a main cast member for Seasons 10-13, appearing in more than 100 episodes of the ABC show. But she was open about wanting to explore other opportunities. She had the lead role in the Shondaland comedy pilot Toast, but that wasn't picked up. However, she did end up landing another lead role in Alan Ball's TV series, and that led to her Grey's Anatomy departure.

Grey's Anatomy Season 13 finale Stephanie burned from fire in hospital bed ABC

As Shonda Rhimes put it at the time of Jerrika Hinton's Grey's Anatomy exit:

Actors evolve differently and when an actor like Jerrika comes to me and says she wants to try something new creatively, I like to honor that. Jerrika has shared so much of herself with Stephanie and I am incredibly proud of the journey we’ve taken together. While I’m sad to see Stephanie leave Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, I am excited to see what’s next for Jerrika.

Back in 2017, at the time of her exit, Jerrika Hinton told THR she loved how Grey's Anatomy ended Stephanie's story in the dramatic Season 13 finale:

I do love her completion. For me, it’s the natural conclusion for what has been a journey of self-exploration. … Her epiphany is the hero’s journey. It’s not just setting a rapist on fire and saving this little kid; it’s her fully and finally seeing her life for what it is and walking a different and hopefully better path. That’s a hero’s journey.

I can definitely understand Grey's Anatomy stars needing time off and wanting to explore other opportunities. That has certainly turned out well for Sandra Oh, for just one example. But since Stephanie was just going to travel and see the world and live her own life for a while, that certainly leaves the door open for her to at least pop in and visit with her old friends. She doesn't have to come back to Grey Sloan to work as a doctor, but there are ways where a cameo could make sense and not take too much time out of Jerrika Hinton's schedule.

Grey's Anatomy fans will have to wait and see if that ever happens. Grey's Anatomy continues with Season 16 on Thursday, January 23 on ABC, including the big Station 19 crossover at a new time. Meanwhile, fans can see Jerrika Hinton as Millie Malone in her new series Hunters, starting February 21 on Amazon.

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