In a shocking announcement yesterday, Grey’s Anatomy fans learned that actresses Jessica Capshaw (Arizona Robbins) and Sarah Drew (April Kepner) would not be returning for season 15. The news it seems came even as a shock to the actresses themselves.
— Sarah Drew (@sarahdrew) March 8, 2018
For their part, both actresses responded with class and kindness towards their fans, their characters, and the show itself.
— Jessica Capshaw (@JessicaCapshaw) March 8, 2018
While the show is no stranger to cast changes, this decision hit fans especially hard as both April and Arizona have been with the show for a long time (9 seasons for Drew, 10 for Arizona) and had become an integral part of the Grey’s family. For fans of Arizona, it hasn’t been an easy couple of years. First fans nearly lost her in a plane crash, weathered the storm of her infidelity, watched as she painfully healed body and soul, and cried through her breakup with Callie. When actress Sara Ramirez exited in Season 12, it effectively ended any chance of reconciliation between Callie and Arizona, but her exit did open up Arizona to the possibility of new story lines and adventures. However, Arizona seemed adrift in Season 13 and 14, and fans noticed. In fact, just last week I tweeted about it, and got many responses in agreement.
Is it just me or has there been a huge lack of Arizona in this season’s Greys?
— Dana Piccoli (@DanaPiccoli) March 5, 2018
Perhaps the powers that be in Shondaland knew that Arizona’s story was going to end, and that’s why most of her important scenes have been happening off-screen. Losing Arizona Robbins as a character on prime-time TV is a huge blow for the LGBTQ fandom and for representation too. Arizona is an openly lesbian, disabled woman in a STEM field. That’s not exactly a dime a dozen, especially when lesbian characters represent a very small percentage of the characters in television. There’s no word yet if Arizona’s current girlfriend, Carina DeLuca (Stefania Spampinato) will join Arizona when she exits or stays around Seattle Grace. If she does indeed exit as well, Grey’s will have lost both a lesbian and a bisexual character leading in to Season 14. While Grey’s doesn’t shy away from killing off characters (RIP Derek, Mark, George, etc), but we can only hope that Arizona gets to leave and follow her bliss into a happy ending.
I’m sure that there’s a lot of sadness in the Grey’s Anatomy fandom today, and that’s understandable. It hurts to lose characters we love. It especially hurts when we feel a special connection to them. There’s still more episodes ahead, so we still have some time with Arizona, but let’s share our favorite Arizona moments in the comments.