Season 17 of Grey’s Anatomy pulled at everyone’s heartstrings with the return of several beloved characters. The medical drama shocked fans with unforeseen appearances by Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), George O’ Malley (T.R. Knight), Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) and April Kepner (Sarah Drew). Though folks wondered if Sandra Oh’s character, Cristina Yang, could possibly be next, the season 17 finale didn’t fulfill these wishes. Instead, we saw Cristina check in with a few quick text messages.
That said, many are still clinging to the hope that we’ll get to see Sandra’s character again. As Grey’s fandom may remember, Cristina danced it out one last time with Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) before leaving Grey Sloan Memorial behind in the season 10 finale. Ahead of her last season, Sandra opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about how she felt closing this acting chapter of her life.
“Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let her go,” Sandra told the outlet in 2013. “It’s such an interesting thing to play a character for so long and to actually get the sense that she wants to be let go as well. [Cristina] wants to be let go, and I am ready to let her go.”
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The decision didn’t come easy for her, though. Sandra admitted that she began thinking about departing from the show in May 2012 when some of the original cast members were finalizing their new two-year deals. After reportedly going to therapy to fully explore the decision of leaving and then giving herself “two years to emotionally let go,” she ultimately walked away.
But will Sandra Oh ever come back to Grey’s Anatomy?
Since saying goodbye to viewers in 2014, the 49-year-old actress has continuously mentioned timing as a major factor in reprising her role as Cristina. Speaking with Access Hollywood Live in 2017, Sandra said, “At this point … No, I don’t think so. I just don’t know. It would have to feel right.”
“I will say it’s hard to beat that ending … I’m not sure. I guess I can’t really answer it either way where I’m sitting right now, because I’m so committed to Eve,” she told the magazine in 2018. “The idea of stepping back into the Cristina shoes, it doesn’t feel right to me right now. But honestly, who knows how long Grey’s is gonna go.”
Fast forward to today and Grey’s is still going strong. While Sandra didn’t give fans a solid “yes” for years, most recently she gave a definitive “no” about returning to the long-running ABC show. Speaking on The Los Angeles Times “Asian Enough” podcast in May, she was asked if she has thought about coming back. Sandra responded, “Oh my gosh, no. No! No!”
She then took a moment to share her gratitude. “I love it, though,” the actress said. “This is also why I really appreciate the show is that I still get asked this.”
Sandra continued: “If I can just say thank you because it’s very rare to be able to see in such a way the impact of a character. In some ways, you do your work as a bubble and you let it go. I left that show, my God, seven years ago almost. So in my mind, it’s gone. But for a lot of people, it’s still very much alive. And while I understand and I love it, I have moved on.”
Well, there you have it. It may just be time for us to also accept the fact that Sandra is dedicated to other projects.
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