Grey's Anatomy returned to ABC with a deadly spring premiere that is bound to have consequences for the rest of Season 17, but that doesn't mean that the rest of Season 17 is going to be dark and depressing and focused on death. Another familiar face is on the way back, and there is no reason to be afraid that she'll be the next person to join Meredith on her beach! Sarah Drew is reprising her role as April Kepner, who is presumably alive and not coming back just to chill with Meredith while she's on her vent.
Sarah Drew is returning to Grey's Anatomy in Season 17, according to Deadline, for a guest appearance. Drew's April Kepner was written out of the long-running medical drama at the end of Season 14 after nine seasons when the show was attempting to downsize its sizable cast of regulars, and April did seemingly get a happy ending. It wasn't exactly the happy ending that fans of the April/Jackson pairing were hoping for, but at least she didn't join the long list of major Grey's characters to die heartbreaking deaths! So, does the return of April mean that there's hope for a Jackson/April reunion? Is there still life left in Japril after all?
There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to the possibility of April and Jackson giving their relationship another shot. For one thing, April got married to somebody else in the Season 14 finale, and Grey's hasn't indicated that there have been any problems with April and Matthew. Plus, Sarah Drew is only slated to return for one episode as a guest star at this point, which isn't exactly a likely way for the love story to get a fresh start. That said, fans also shouldn't rule out a Japril romantic reunion.
From a practical standpoint, April and Jackson are always going to be part of each others' lives due to their adorable young daughter, and it's worth noting that there is no guarantee that Grey's Anatomy will even return after Season 17, to the point that showrunner Krista Vernoff is planning a season finale that could also serve as a series finale. Could part of that plan be setting Jackson up for a happy ending with April?
I could also see Jackson and April getting back together if Jesse Williams is leaving the show, and I for one would find him running off to build a life with April a lot better than Alex running off (off-screen) to build a life with Izzie, even if Jackson has a connection to Jo in Season 17. It's worth noting that both Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams were fans of the Japril relationship, with Drew telling TVLine back in 2018 that she was "devastated" that Jackson and April weren't endgame and thought they "were meant to get back together and they were going to get married again."
As for Jesse Williams, he weighed in on the possibility of Sara Drew returning and a Japril reunion more recently, telling ET back in February:
They're incredible together. I'm a fan too. She is absolutely one of the most special people I've worked with, and we developed those storylines together with our incredible writers, so it'll always hold a very real place in my heart and memories. And we stay in contact. She's the sweetest. I would love any opportunity for us to continue that story because yeah, they have it in droves. They have an ability to communicate and be vulnerable with each other and push each other. Even if it has to just live in our minds or in some fan fiction, I get it. I understand it.
While none of this is to say that April and Jackson are going to fall into each other's arms and ride off into the sunset, there are reasons to hope, and definitely reasons to at least be confident that their paths will cross in Sarah Drew's return, unless she is returning like Patrick Dempsey and T.R. Knight – just to appear on Meredith's beach. Considering most of the people on Meredith's beach have either been dead or dying, however, I'm hoping that April doesn't interact with Meredith unless it's when Meredith is conscious again!
There are no details just yet about when exactly Sarah Drew will make her return as April Kepner, but she's officially on the way back before the end of Season 17 (and possibly the series). New episodes of Grey's Anatomy continue to air on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC, following Station 19. The Grey's Anatomy/Station 19 crossover that brought the shows back in 2021 was a doozy of a two-parter, and the fallout could last for a while.