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Could It Be? ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Fans Are Freaking Out Over Potential Derek Shepherd Return

’Grey’s Anatomy’ Fans Freak Out Over Potential Derek Shepherd Return Patrick Dempsey ABC
Patrick Dempsey on ’Grey’s Anatomy’ Photo by Gale Adler/Abc-Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock

More MerDer scenes? After Patrick Dempsey’s highly emotional return to Grey’s Anatomy last year, fans are speculating whether his beloved character of Derek Shepherd could make future appearances on the show.

Related: More McDreamy! Patrick Dempsey’s ‘Grey’s’ Return: What We Know

“Not Wordle, just a sticky note,” the official Twitter account for the long-running medical drama teased on Thursday, January 27, alongside 25 small blue boxes to resemble the popular spelling game.

In Wordle, players have six tries to guess the daily correct word. After each incorrect guess, the game gives letter placement hints by color. Many players have taken to Twitter to share their progress using colored emoji squares.

After the series’ speculative tweet, many eagle-eyed fans were quick to note that the illustration resembled Derek’s low-key Post-It note wedding to Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) during season 7. Considering the comparison, many social media users started to believe it was a clue that the Enchanted actor, 56, could return to the ABC series.

Related: Biggest ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Returns Over the Years

“Derek shepherd is alive Confirmation?” one fan tweeted on Thursday, as another wrote, “Derek is coming I know.”

’Grey’s Anatomy’ Fans Freak Out Over Potential Derek Shepherd Return Patrick Dempsey Meredith Grey Ellen Pompeo
Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Gale Adler/Abc-Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock

Grey’s — which is set to return from its winter hiatus next month — previously welcomed Dempsey’s character back during the season 17 premiere in a dream sequence as Meredith battled COVID-19. Throughout the season, the 52-year-old Massachusetts native’s character reconnected with her late friends and family, including McDreamy, sister Lexie (Chyler Leigh), George O’Malley (T.R. Knight) and Mark Sloan (Eric Dane).

“We all cried at the beginning and we hugged each other,” Dempsey previously told Variety in April 2021 about his return, which was nearly six years after his 2015 exit from the show. “It was really for us to get the message out there to wear a mask, take care of yourself.”

After Derek reunited with his longtime love in four separate episodes — including a dreamy wedding scene — Dempsey wasn’t ready to rule out another onscreen reunion.

Related: TV Stars Who Left Shows and Came Back

“Who knows? Never say never with this show, right?” the Valentine’s Day actor told the outlet. “I’m glad we did it this year. And [showrunner] Krista Vernoff did a fantastic job telling the story. It was just a great way to give people some hope.”

Both longtime fans of the series and former cast members couldn’t help gushing over the Maine native’s moving cameo.

“I was actually thrilled and thought it was incredibly clever the way they brought people back during [Meredith’s coma],” Kate Walsh, who played Addison Montgomery on the ABC show and its Private Practice spinoff, exclusively told Us Weekly in May 2021 about her former TV ex-husband’s return. “What a great device that was. Honestly, I thought it was just awesome and chilling and hugely moving and really cool to take a very kind of, I would say cliché device of, you know, ‘coma in the hospital drama,’ but then make it this amazing thing where you’ve got Pat and T.R., and did Eric come back too? It’s just so cool.”

The midseason premiere of Grey’s Anatomy airs on ABC Thursday, February 24, at 9 p.m. ET.

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