Patrick Dempsey Weighs in on Potentially Returning to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

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Patrick Dempsey arrived at Disney’s D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center Friday with platinum blonde hair that was shocking enough to trick fans into thinking they were seeing a ghost. He did play a ghost recently on Grey’s Anatomy, returning in Season 17 to visit Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) on a mind beach as Dr. Derek Shepherd while Meredith battled COVID-19. When asked if he’d ever do that again, Dempsey left it up to the writers.

“I think that’s up to the creators,” Dempsey told Deadline. “It was great to go back and do the show on the beach. It was an important moment. I think everyone was really tired of being locked down and fans were happy and very surprised. We pulled it off without letting anyone know we were doing it. So that was great.”

Dempsey starred as McDreamy for the first 11 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. In Season 11, he died from the injuries sustained in a car crash. During Season 17, he made his first appearance on the show since 2015, appearing as a ghost in Meredith’s mind. Dr. Shepard’s ghost appeared in four episodes, even “marrying” Meredith in one of them. After his final episode aired, Dempsey left a potential return up to showrunner Krista Vernoff.

Dempsey attended D23 for two big reasons. He was there to promote the upcoming Enchanted sequel Disenchanted and to receive a Disney Legends honor for Grey’s Anatomy. Ellen Pompeo was also there to receive a Legends honor. They reunited on the red carpet, where Dempsey hijacked Pompeo’s Extra TV interview. Dempsey said he had a “couple [of] ideas” for an on-screen reunion with Pompeo.

“I’ll tell her first and then we’ll see if we can realize it,” Dempsey said, notes PEOPLE. “It’s always been a really special relationship Ellen and I have had together in front of the screen and behind it as well. I remember the first time I met her, she had a Boston accent, and I’m from Maine originally, so it was very endearing and had that connection right away.”

As for that crazy blonde hair Dempsey sported, it was just for a movie. He is now working on Michael Mann’s upcoming Ferrari, in which he plays 1957 Mille Miglia winner Piero Taruffi. The film also stars Adam Driver, Penelope Cruz, and Shailene Woodley. “I’m having a great time, I get to drive a lot of fast cars,” he told Deadline of the project. Meanwhile, Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 premieres on ABC Thursday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. ET.

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