New Grey’s Anatomy Showrunner Explains Why Sara Ramirez Isn’t Returning For A ‘Calzona’ Reunion With Jessica Capshaw, And It Makes Sense

Sara Ramirez and Jessica Capshaw on Grey's Anatomy.
(Image credit: ABC)

Grey’s Anatomy sure does love to bring back its former stars, and fans have been treated to some huge surprises over the years. Not only did we get a “Japril” update when Jesse Williams and Sarah Drew returned in Season 18, but we’ve seen characters like Derek Shepherd and George O’Malley appear from beyond the grave. With the news that Jessica Capshaw will be back in Season 20 as Arizona Robbins, there was hope that we’d see Sara Ramirez as well, but showrunner Meg Marinis explained why there unfortunately won’t be a “Calzona” reunion.

Sara Ramirez became a bisexual icon through Callie and Arizona’s relationship, and while the couple had divorced and moved on when Ramirez left the show after Season 12, Arizona followed her ex-wife to New York at the end of Season 14 in hopes of rekindling their romance. However, Ramirez won’t be returning with Jessica Capshaw when Season 20 premieres on March 14, as Meg Marinis told TV Line

We have an open-door policy here. We always want to see old characters come back and interact with the new characters. But there are so many [alumni], and everyone has busy careers and schedules. [On top of that,] this particular story really connected to Arizona and her specialty, so it made sense.

It’s a blessing and a curse that Grey’s Anatomy has such a wealth of actors to call on for guest-starring roles from its 19 previous seasons. But as much as we love to see our fan favorites drop in, it doesn’t make sense to bring back every previous character, even if the actors are interested in returning to the roles. Therefore, for every McDreamy that appears in Meredith’s unconscious, there are Cristinas, Alexes and Izzies that are never heard from again.

As Meg Marinis pointed out, not only does the timing have to work out between filming and the actor’s schedules, but there also has to be a story that makes sense for the character’s return. It also sounds like the new showrunner — who has taken over for Season 20 after Krista Vernoff’s exit — isn’t closing the door on Callie appearing again someday, just that this particular story belongs to Arizona. Marinis understands how much “Calzona” means to the fans as one of the most significant same-sex couples in TV history. She continued: 

That was such an iconic relationship. It’s still, to this day. When people approach me, one of the things that resonates with them about the show is that relationship. It’s amazing that people still talk about it. Clearly, we did something right.

As for where Sara Ramirez stands on a possible return, they said back in 2021 that they would “absolutely” be interested in coming back under the right circumstances, and they’ve enjoyed seeing how Grey’s Anatomy has continued to diversify its cast with trans and nonbinary characters. Hopefully the show can make this reunion happen for all the Calzona fans out there.

Grey’s Anatomy is set to return at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, March 14, on ABC and can be streamed the next day with a Hulu subscription. If you need a refresher on how Season 19 ended, we’ve got a rundown of where things stand and what we’d like to see in Grey’s Anatomy Season 20. All seasons of the medical drama are available to stream on Hulu or with a Netflix subscription, and be sure to check out our 2024 TV schedule to see what other premieres are coming soon. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.