EXCLUSIVE: Japril will be back on Grey’s Anatomy. Jesse Williams and Sarah Drew are set to reprise their roles as Jackson and April in the Season 18 finale of the ABC medical drama, which airs May 26.
Williams departed Grey’s Anatomy last spring after 12 seasons. His character Jackson Avery’s exit was revealed in the May 6 episode, “Look Up Child,” which also featured Grey’s alumna Drew, who returned as April Kepner to help give Jackson a proper sendoff by reuniting one of the show’s most popular couples, “Japril.” Jackson visited his ex to tell her that he was moving to Boston to take over the family foundation. April agreed to follow him there so he can be close to their daughter, while dropping a bombshell of her own that she recently had separated from her husband — giving fans hope that Japril might be back on. As April and Jackson put it, “Fingers crossed for new horizons,” reigniting calls from Grey’s devotees for a Jackson-April spinoff.
This will be Drew’s first Grey’s episode since then. Williams made two more appearances last season, in his last episode as a series regular the following week and a cameo in the Season 17 finale, in which he welcomed Jo and her daughter to his old apartment via video phone call. Williams and Drew’s return will now provide an update on how Jackson and April are doing a year later.
At the time of Williams exit last May, I asked him whether he would return to Grey’s for a guest appearance.
“You know, I can’t be sure, but I think it’s possible,” he said. “Yeah, I think it’s totally possible. I think it’s totally possible. You never know how things will shake out. There’s a lot of other factors at play, including schedules and stuff, but I love the idea of keeping that option open.” Drew also has said publicly that she would love to resume her Grey’s role.
Williams also shared his vision for Jackson’s next chapter in Boston.
“In my mind he will have many stumbles on his road to success in the administrative that he’s taken on running a foundation. I think this is something he will not, cannot give up on. He’s finally found a place for his whole self that is not just his profession,” he said. “He’s always had this bubble wrap around him that has protected him, and being able to do this work, I think, he’s going to be thrilled and feeling like blood is coursing through his veins in a whole new way now. He’s going to feel alive in a way that he hasn’t before, which is very exciting.”
As for Jackson and April, he said: “I think it’s pretty possible that he rekindles a romantic connection to his ex-wife, they’re damn good together, but most importantly what he needs from that is friendship and kindness, and patience, and understanding, and I think that he will get that with her and be able to share and give and reciprocate it as well,” Williams said at the time.
The pandemic-themed Season 17 was defined in part by high-profile cast returns, including Patrick Dempsey, TR Knight, Eric Dane, Chyler Leigh and Drew. Williams and Drew’s return in the finale will cap an 18th season that has featured alums Kate Walsh (in a multi-episode arc) and appearances by Kate Burton as well as Greg Germann, who exited as a series regular shortly after Williams did last season.
After a month-long break, Grey’s Anatomy is returning May 5 with the episode “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” In it, Bailey faces an unhappy Catherine, who is facing audits for several of her Foundation hospitals. Meanwhile, Addison is back at Gray Sloan; tensions rise between Meredith and Richard, and Owen returns to work. Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursday 9 PM on ABC. New episodes are available on demand and on Hulu the day following their broadcast premiere.
In his Broadway debut, Williams is starring in the hit revival of Take Me Out, getting strong reviews for his portrayal of Darren Lemming. This summer, he can be seen in the Paramount Pictures action comedy Secret Headquarters with Owen Wilson and the Hulu series Your Place or Mine with Reese Witherspoon. Williams produced the 2020 Oscar winning short film Two Distant Strangers and is executive producer of Question Bridge: Black Males, a series of transmedia art installations on display as part of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s permanent collection. He is repped by Priya Satiani at Management 360, CAA, 42West and Andre Des Rochers Granderson.
Drew, who spent nine season on Grey’s Anatomy, can soon be seen starring in the Apple+ series Amber Brown and also stars in the Lifetime movie Reindeer Games (working title), which she wrote and is producing under her two-picture deal with the network. She can also be seen recurring on Freeform’s Cruel Summer. Drew is repped by Innovative Artists, Vault Entertainment and Yorn, Levine.