“Grey’s Anatomy” fans can rejoice: Dr. Derek Shepherd is returning a few more times, according to showrunner Krista Vernoff.
On Thursday night, the Season 17 premiere of the long-running medical drama brought on a rollercoaster of emotions for viewers with one of its most jaw-dropping plot twists ever: the return of Dr. Shepherd, known to viewers as “McDreamy.”
Now, per Vernoff, that wasn’t a one-off.
“We will see more of [Derek] this season,” Vernoff told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published on Friday. “This was not just a cameo. He will appear three more times.”
Patrick Dempsey starred on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ alongside Ellen Pompeo until 2015.
It is unclear when in the season Dr. Shepherd will appear again. However, it’s a character resurgence fans of the series never saw coming. Shepherd, who was married to Ellen Pompeo‘s Dr. Meredith Grey, died in a 2015 episode.
The two-hour premiere showed the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial battling a beast they’ve never taken on before in the emergency room — the coronavirus pandemic — and Pompeo’s character was overcome with heartbreak as she witnessed several of her patients die alone, away from loved ones, due to COVID-19 complications.
The episode took an even more devastating turn when Grey herself was found by a co-worker passed out in the hospital’s parking lot. The next thing viewers saw was Pompeo’s character strolling down a beach and locking eyes with her late husband.
Of keeping Dempsey’s return to the series under wraps, Vernoff noted “what went into it was pretty epic in terms of keeping the secret.”
“We didn’t tell the writers for the longest time. When she’s walking and she looks as someone is calling to her, and she goes, ‘Derek?’ In the script, I had it as Ellis Grey,” Vernoff told the Times. “And she goes, ‘Mom?’ We read it at the table that way. Nobody knew what we were doing — to the point that when the crew showed up on the day we shot the scene, nobody knew. It was top secret.”
Fox News’ Melissa Roberto contributed to this report