(LOS ANGELES) — Grey’s Anatomy is saying goodbye to two longtime cast members.
Deadline reports that Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew will not be returning to the ABC medical drama after this current season.
Capshaw has played Dr. Arizona Robbins on the show for 10 seasons, nine as a series regular; Drew has played Dr. April Kepner on the show for nine season, eight as series regular.
Producers reportedly decided not to bring the characters back for creative reasons.
In a statement, co-showrunner Krista Vernoff tells Deadline, in part, “As writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with these phenomenally talented actresses.”
Show creator Shonda Rhimes pointed out the cultural significance of both characters: Arizona, a lesbian, and April, a devout Christian.
“Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic — both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV,” Rhimes writes on Twitter, adding, “They will always be a part of our Shondaland family.”
Drew posted her own statement to fans on Twitter, saying in part, “I haven’t really had the time to process the information. I’ve been with it for less than 48 hours, so I’m not ready to say my thank yous and give an all-encompassing statement about my 9 years here. That will come later.”
She assured fans that April’s story “isn’t over yet.”
Capshaw followed suit, writing of her character, “I am so sad to see her go but I am consoled by the idea that she will continue to live on and on in all of our consciences and imaginations.”
Grey’s Anatomy is currently in its 14th season and has not yet officially been renewed for season 15.
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