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Grey’s Anatomy: How will Ellis Grey return from the dead?

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Grey’s Anatomy fans have missed Dr Ellis Grey (played by Kate Burton) since she left the series way back in season three. The character made a lasting impact on the ABC show and now she is set to do so again. It has been reported Burton is returning to reprise her role in the 18th season, but how is this possible when the character died?

How will Ellis Grey return from the dead?

Ellis Grey was a recurring character throughout the first three seasons of the show.

She sadly suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, which the show delicately explored with Burton giving a powerful and memorable performance.

Her performance actually earned her two Emmy nominations for her work across the 23 episodes she appeared in.

The star went on to receive a third nomination from the series Scandal, where she played the character of Sally Langston following her exit from Grey’s Anatomy.

In season three, Ellis tragically died, which ultimately led to Burton leaving the series for good.

However it’s been reported Burton is set to reprise her role again for season 18 which is set for release on September 30, 2021.

ABC has not provided an explanation for how Ellis will return, though it will likely tie into the events of season 17. 

During the season Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) was battling Covid, which led to a recurring dream sequence on a beach.

This was used to bring back various characters who had died over the course of the show, including her sister Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), husband Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), Mark Sloan (Eric Dane), and George (TR Knight).

However, Ellis was not part of the sequence, meaning it is likely this could continue on into season 18.

There is also the potential of flashbacks or a different dream sequence, one made solely for Burton’s return as Ellis.

The star will be reprising her role for multiple episodes, including the season 18 premiere on September 30.

With Meredith waking up from her dream at the end of season 17, anything is possible for Burton’s reprisal.

This wouldn’t be the first time the star has come back to the show in a dream, as her character was last seen in season 15.

During the episode Blood and Water, Meredith saw her mother Ellis come to her in a dream, though this was a one-off cameo.

Patrick Dempsey, who came back in season 17 spoke opened up to Variety about the impact coming back to the series has on the stars. 

Dempsey explained: “We all cried at the beginning and we hugged each other.

“I’m glad we did it this year. And [showrunner] Krista Vernoff did a fantastic job telling the story.”

Addressing the timing of the cameo, the star said “it was just a great way to give people some hope” during the pandemic.

ABC will likely not reveal how they will bring Ellis back before the premiere, giving fans something to look forward to for the new season.

Grey’s Anatomy is available to watch on ABC.

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