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Grey's Anatomy season 18 release date, teaser trailer, cast and latest news

Grey's Anatomy season 18 with Ellen Pompeo
(Image credit: ABC)

Some familiar faces are back in their scrubs in Grey's Anatomy season 18. ABC released the first promo for the upcoming season, which warns fans to "Brace yourself for one hell of a return." The show is welcoming back Abigail Spencer and Kate Walsh. Maybe more past stars will make an appearance.

Grey's Anatomy season 18 continues the long-running medical drama. Even after all these years, the show still pulls in big ratings for ABC. It is the network's top drama in total viewers and the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demo. Grey's Anatomy is also the No. 1 show in that demo among all broadcast networks.

Grey's Anatomy season 18 was up in the air for a few months due to ABC's negotiations with talent. However, star Ellen Pompeo signed a deal (which likely includes a big pay raise) and fellow cast members Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. are also on board. ABC also ordered season 5 of spinoff series Station 19.

Here's everything we know so far about Grey's Anatomy season 18. Check out our guide for how to watch Grey's Anatomy season 18 episode 6 if you're tuning in this week.

Grey's Anatomy season 18 release date

ABC has set the Grey's Anatomy season 18 release date for Thursday, September 30.

This mostly falls in line with previous seasons' premieres. Season 17 debuted a little later than usual, due to COVID-related productions delays. But previous seasons were released in late September.

The premiere episode will be another crossover event with Station 19. 

Grey's Anatomy season 18 teasers and trailer

The first teaser trailer for Grey's Anatomy season 18 begins with Ellis Grey telling her daughter Meredith, "You survived the unthinkable." But what is Mer going to do now that she's recovered from COVID-19? 

The rest of the promo features glimpses of Abigail Spencer as Megan Hunt, Owen's sister. But it doesn't seem like she'd be the one teased as "one hell of a return." Who is arriving to upend Grey Sloan Memorial?

Grey's Anatomy season 18 cast

The cast of Grey's Anatomy season 18 is led by Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey, the head of general surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in Seattle. 

Pompeo signed a deal that likely gave her a pay raise above the $20 million a year she got for the previous several seasons. 

Two more original Grey's Anatomy cast members also made deals to return: Chandra Wilson as chief of surgery Miranda Bailey and James Pickens Jr. as Dr. Richard Webber. And Kate Walsh was just announced to return as Addison Forbes Montgomery, which has been a topic of suggestion since Private Practice went off the air.

They join three actors who are already on board for season 18: Kevin McKidd as Dr. Owen Hunt, Kim Raver as Dr. Teddy Altman and Camilla Luddington as Dr. Jo Wilson.

Three major actors will definitely not be back for season 18. The first is Jesse Williams as Dr. Jackson Avery. Williams announced he was leaving the show after 12 seasons. Jackson is being written out as taking over his family's foundation in Boston and taking ex-wife April Kepner and their daughter Harriet with him.

The second is Giacomo Gianniotti as Dr. Andrew DeLuca, who died in a March episode. 

The third is Greg Germann as Dr. Tom Koracick. However, he may appear in cameos or in a recurring capacity down the line.

As for other Grey's Anatomy cast members who could return, they include:

  • Caterina Scorsone as Dr. Amelia Shepherd
  • Kelly McCreary as Dr. Maggie Pierce
  • Jake Borelli as Dr. Levi Schmitt
  • Chris Carmack as Dr. Atticus "Link" Lincoln
  • Richard Flood as Dr. Cormac Hayes
  • Anthony Hill as Dr. Winston Ndugu
  • Debbie Allen as Dr. Catherine Fox
  • Jason George as Ben Warren
  • Alex Landi as Dr. Nico Kim
  • Jaicy Elliot as Dr. Taryn Helm
  • Lisa Vidal as Dr. Alma Ortiz
  • Melissa DuPrey as Dr. Sara Ortiz
  • Nikhil Shukla as Dr. Reza Khan
  • Robert I. Mesa as Dr. James Chee
  • Zaiver Sinnett as Dr. Zander Perez

With Vernoff still overseeing both Grey's and Station 19, fans will probably see more crossovers from the latter show's cast members, including Jason George as Ben Warren (a surgeon, current firefighter and Miranda Bailey's husband).

Season 17 featured appearances by former cast members, including Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd, T.R. Knight as Dr. George O'Malley, Chyler Leigh as Dr. Lexie Grey and Eric Dane as Dr. Mark Sloan. However, their deceased characters were part of Meredith's COVID-fueled dreams, so we don't expect any more cameos in Grey's Anatomy season 18.

Grey's Anatomy season 18 episodes

ABC's renewal announcement did not specify a number of episodes, but we can guess it'll be at least 20. 

This year, Grey's Anatomy is only airing 17 episodes in a season shortened by the pandemic. However, previous seasons all consisted of at least 20 episodes (season 16 had 21, season 15 had 25, etc.). 

When is Grey's Anatomy season 18 streaming on Netflix?

Grey's Anatomy season 18 will be released on Netflix ... but not for awhile. 

Season 17 is streaming now on Netflix,  after hitting the service in July.

Usually, Netflix gets the latest Grey's Anatomy season a month after it finishes. Since season 18 is premiering in late September 2021 and likely airing until May 2022, that indicates a Netflix release date in June 2022. 

Kelly Woo

Kelly is a senior writer covering streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.