Why A Grey’s Anatomy Tweet Has Some Fans Convinced Derek Shepherd Is Coming Back

Derek Shepherd returns to Grey's Anatomy.
(Image credit: ABC)

Derek Shepherd has already risen from the dead once, so to speak. In Season 17, Patrick Dempsey made a surprising return to Grey’s Anatomy, which had killed off his character in Season 11 amid building tension behind the scenes, to reunite with Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey in her unconscious COVID beach hallucinations. McDreamy helped his widow realize she wasn’t ready to leave their children behind, and she returned to the conscious world, leaving Derek in the afterlife, once and for all — right?  

Some fans aren’t so sure. In fact, thanks to a recent Wordle-inspired tweet from the official Grey’s Anatomy account, some think Krista Vernoff and company were dropping subtle hints ahead of the ABC medical drama’s Season 18 spring premiere suggesting another MerDer reunion is in the works. Take a look at the tweet in question:  

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I’m sorry, just a sticky note? When we’re talking about Grey’s Anatomy, there’s no such thing as just a sticky note. Especially a blue sticky note — the “something blue” that Cristina Yang gifted to Meredith ahead of her and Derek’s courthouse wedding. When the surgeons couldn’t find the time to sneak away from the hospital, they wrote their vows on the blue sticky note, signed it, and lived happily ever after-ish … until Season 11. 

A blue Post-It is as meaningful as when “Chasing Cars” starts playing during the show — something is going down, and Twitter users were quick to call the show out.

I don't want to get my hopes up, but... the last time they published a POST IT Derek appeared on the beach...

Indeed, that fan is correct. Ahead of Patrick Dempsey’s Season 17 return, Grey’s Anatomy teased fans with what we thought at the time was just a sweet call-back — a tweet featuring a blue Post-It that read “See you tonight,” and was signed as “Grey’s” in the spot where Meredith and Derek had signed their own names. You better believe Grey’s Anatomy fans have receipts.

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Fool me once, shame on me, Grey’s Anatomy, but if you’re really going to bring Derek Shepherd back again just to break our hearts for a third time, shame on you! So is there any chance this could actually be happening?

Death on Grey’s Anatomy has never meant we’ll never see the deceased characters again. Kate Burton has continued to appear as Meredith’s mother Ellis Grey since her Season 3 death. We also saw pre-Friday Night Lights Kyle Chandler resurrect his character Dylan Young after a shocking death, as well as Jeffrey Dean Morgan coming back as Denny Duquette to signal Izzie Stevens’ brain tumor. And that’s not to mention all of the other fan favorites who revealed themselves on Meredith’s COVID beach. 

So could they bring McDreamy back again? Sure. Whether they should is another question altogether. Fans were devastated by the loss of Derek Shepherd in Season 11, and certainly shed some tears when he left again in Season 17. If Grey’s Anatomy keeps bringing back Derek from beyond the grave, it’s going to lose the emotional gravitas that Patrick Dempsey holds over the fans. 

The man himself seemed to be keeping his options open following his Season 17 appearance, as Patrick Dempsey cautioned, “Never say never” about another potential return to Grey’s Anatomy. With the hit drama’s recent renewal for Season 19, they’ve got a whole new batch of episodes to fit him into, if they wanted to and the time was right. 

Is that time now? Meredith has started a new relationship with Scott Speedman’s Nick Marsh, so it might be a strange time to bring McDreamy back. However, Ellen Pompeo said on her podcast Tell Me that Meredith would be returning to neurosurgery in Season 18. Might that move be inspired by a new sighting of her late husband? Addison Montgomery has been back on Grey’s Anatomy as well, and she had an emotional moment mourning her ex-husband at the beginning of Season 18. 

Sure, the tweet could very likely have just been an acknowledgement of the Wordle phenomenon — which we’ve been playing while we wait for Grey’s to come back — with the blue squares resembling blue sticky notes. Where’s the fun in that, though? Let the fans dream!

Grey’s Anatomy returns Thursday, February 24, as part of a two-hour crossover event with Station 19, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what else is coming up soon.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.