Grey’s Anatomy shocker: Arizona and April won't be back for season 15

2018-03-09 08:23

Cape Town – In a Grey's Anatomy shocker the Shondaland produced show broadcast on M-Net (DStv 101) announced that both Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew are exiting the show at the end of the current 14th season.

The longtime cast members are both being written out for creative reasons, according to the drama series.

Jessica Capshaw's character Arizona is notably a lesbian, while April's character is a devout Christian in a largely faithless medical environment focused on science to save lives.

"The characters of Arizona and April are permanently woven into the fabric of Grey’s Anatomy thanks to the extraordinary work of Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew," says Krista Vernoff, executive producer in a statement.

"As writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with these phenomenally talented actresses."

She said dropping Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew had nothing to do with Ellen Pompeo signing a new $20m deal to remain with the show.

"The suggestion that our cast changes are in any way related to Ellen Pompeo's salary renegotiation is wrong and hurtful and misguided. It smacks of an old, broken, patriarchal notion that women must be pitted against each other and that one woman’s success will be costly to others.

"Ellen Pompeo has not only advocated passionately for her fellow cast members, she has taken the time to educate women worldwide as to how to advocate for themselves and that must not now be twisted."

"The decision to make changes to our cast was a creative one," says Krista Vernoff. "The only thing as constant on Grey's Anatomy as Ellen Pompeo is our penchant for reinvention. It is a part of our success and what keeps the show exciting. We love these actresses and we love these characters and it felt true and right creatively to wrap up their stories. And that is the whole story."

Shonda Rhimes in the statement says "it's always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters. Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic - both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV.

"I will be forever grateful to both Jessica and Sarah for bringing these characters to life with such vibrant performance and for inspiring women around the globe. They will always be a part of our Shondaland family."

Jessica Capshaw started as a recurring character on Grey's Anatomy during the 5th season, while Sarah Drew made her appearance as a recurring character during the 6th season after which both eventually became series regulars.

Dr Arizona Robbins is the head of fetal surgery, an attending pediatric surgeon and a board member at the Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Dr April Kepner is an attending trauma surgeon at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital and she shares a daughter with her ex, Dr Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams).

On social media Capshaw responded about the news about her departure from the show, saying on Twitter: "For the past 10 years I have had the rare privilege of not only playing Arizona Robbins but also being madly in love with playing her.

"Arizona Robbins is kind, intelligent, funny, insightful, bold, playful, fierce and really good at her job. She was one of the first members of the LGBTQ community to be represented as a series regular role on network television. Her impact on the world is permanent and forever. Forever.

"I am grateful that I have gotten to bring her to life and for the life that she has brought to me. I am sad to see her go but I am consoled by the idea that she will continue to live on and on in all of our consciences and our imaginations. Shonda, thank you for the ride on this incredible rollercoaster."

Drew responded about the news about her departure, saying on Twitter: "Thank you for all of the love. I know you're sad. I'm sad too.

"I haven't really had the time to process this information. I've been with it for less than 48 hours, so I'm not ready to say my thank you's and give an all encompassing statement about my 9 years here. That will come later. For now, I'd like to say: I love you, and I love April, and her story isn't over yet.

"And the really good news (for me at least) is that I'm here on set shadowing one of my favorite people, Kevin McKidd, with my beloved Grey's family all this week and next, so I get to process all of my feelings surrounded by the community that has nourished and nurtured me for almost a decade. For that, I am so grateful."

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