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The Real Reason Sandra Oh Won't Return To Grey's Anatomy

From the show's inception in 2005 to 2014, Sandra Oh played Dr. Cristina Yang on the hit ABC medical drama "Grey's Anatomy," with the actor ultimately making the decision to depart at the end of Season 10. So will she ever come back, don her old Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital scrubs, pick up a scalpel, and reunite with her "person" Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) in the operating room?

Apparently, she won't. While walking the red carpet for her new series "The Sympathizer," where she stars alongside recently minted Oscar winner Robert Downey Jr., Oh said she's not planning on returning to the fictional Seattle hospital. When Entertainment Tonight interviewer Kevin Frazier asked Oh if she'd make a cameo like other "Grey's Anatomy" veterans have in recent years, citing enduring love for Cristina Yang, Oh said, "I love that I love that people are still [fans]. I love that you asked me that, because Cristina Yang is, of course, near and dear to my heart," Oh said, before admitting that it's not in the cards right now. "[But] I will say, not anytime soon, my love."

This is, certainly, disappointing news for diehard fans of Cristina Yang ... so why does Oh say she doesn't see a return to "Grey's Anatomy" in her near future?

Cristina Yang's story is simply over, according to Sandra Oh

While speaking to Kevin Frazier, Sandra Oh said that the main reason she doesn't think she needs to make a return to "Grey's Anatomy" as Cristina Yang is that the character's storyline progressed naturally and is all wrapped up. "I hope people feel like I did my job, which is that I brought to life a character and she had a growth over 10 seasons, and that it was true," Oh said of Cristina's journey. "She was ready to move on, and so have I."

To be fair, Oh isn't wrong at all. At the beginning of "Grey's Anatomy," Cristina Yang is a stubborn lone wolf determined to be at the top of her intern class without leaning on anybody, but when she and Meredith become friends, she lets down her walls piece by piece until the two are completely inseperable. After a failed engagement to Dr. Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington, who was let go from the show after offensive remarks about another cast member), Cristina is part of a tempestuous, on-again off-again relationship with Dr. Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) and also becomes a powerhouse cardiothoracic surgeon, ultimately choosing the career she loves over her marriage to Owen. At the end of Season 10, Cristina is offered the opportunity of a lifetime when Burke reappears and asks her to take over his top-tier cardiac surgery program in Zurich, Switzerland. After Cristina moves away, she's mentioned occasionally but never seen on the show again.

Sandra Oh has remained booked and busy since Grey's Anatomy

Since leaving the show in 2014, Sandra Oh has remained in-demand as an actress ... so it's possible that she doesn't have the time to return to "Grey's Anatomy" any time soon. During Oh's time on the series, she found some time to appear in other projects, like the 2010 drama "Rabbit Hole" with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, but the medical drama's seasons ran for over 20 episodes at a time, which certainly tied up Oh's schedule.

Oh's next big television project after "Grey's Anatomy," "Killing Eve," became an immediate hit and a critical darling; thanks to her role as British detective Eve Polastri, Oh became the first Asian actress to earn an Emmy nomination for outstanding actress in a drama series, and her chemistry with co-star Jodie Comer was nothing short of sensational. "Killing Eve" ran for four seasons from 2018 to 2022 and remains one of Oh's most recognizable projects. In recent years, she has appeared in buzzy streaming films like the Hulu original "Quiz Lady," where she plays an out-of-control character that contrasts with Awkwafina's straight man, and the Netflix original drama "The Chair." Her newest show, "The Sympathizer," is a new HBO original miniseries based on the acclaimed novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Meanwhile, Grey's Anatomy is in its landmark 20th season

Plenty of actors have left "Grey's Anatomy" over the years, so Sandra Oh is in good company. Fellow original interns T.R. Knight, Katherine Heigl, and Justin Chambers (who played Dr. George O'Malley, Dr. Isobel "Izzie" Stevens, and Dr. Alex Karev, respectively) have all exited the series — though Knight appeared in a cameo in Season 17 — and even Ellen Pompeo, who puts the "Grey" in "Grey's Anatomy," has officially left the show as a full time regular. (Pompeo is still an executive producer, provides the show's signature voice-over, and has appeared in several Season 20 episodes as of this writing.)

At this point, the ABC series has cycled through multiple generations of new interns, and in its record-breaking 20th season, there's a whole new gang of surgery-hungry residents breathing new life into "Grey's Anatomy." Dr. Simone Griffith (Alexis Floyd), Dr. Benson "Blue" Kwan (Harry Shum Jr.), Dr. Jules Millin (Adelaide Kane), Dr. Mika Yasuda (Midori Francis), and Dr. Lucas Adams (Niko Terho) are carrying on Cristina and Meredith's legacy perfectly, so "Grey's Anatomy" is doing okay without Sandra Oh ... but it would still be great to see Cristina Yang again.