Grey’s fans are used to losing beloved characters, but we typically don’t find out too far in advance that they’ll be leaving. So, naturally, it took a minute to adjust to the announcement that neither April Kepner nor Arizona Robbins will be returning next season. Now that the initial shock has worn off, though, we can’t stop wondering how the show will send off not one but two major characters before Season 14 ends.
If we’re really being honest, the fact that April (played by Sarah Drew) is leaving didn’t come as a terrible shock. She’s been spiraling for a while now. As for Arizona (played by Jessica Capshaw), processing her departure has proven more difficult. She hasn’t been struggling lately like April. In fact, she’s been enjoying a sexy, exciting new relationship. So, what gives?
In anticipation of the exits, we did some good, old-fashioned internet scouring for fan theories. Suffice it to say, there are many, although not nearly as many for Arizona as April. For your added benefit, we’ve ranked them from least to most likely for each character.
4. Arizona spirits April away after April realizes she is in love with her best friend.
Listen, we’re all for some Aprizona, especially if their love leads to a spin-off. However, this theory just doesn’t seem plausible. Even if April had been oblivious, Arizona would have known by now if she were developing feelings for her (straight) friend.
3. Arizona is injured, perhaps mortally, in an accident caused by April.
Well, this would suck. Essentially, the theory goes that April goes on another existential-crisis bender. Arizona, realizing her friend is trashed, tries to drive her home — but drunk April grabs the wheel and causes a terrible accident. April is fine, but something happens to Arizona that results in April having a full-on nervous breakdown. The most speculated scenarios online are that Arizona would lose her other leg or actually be killed.
2. Arizona moves to Italy to continue studying maternal mortality rates with Carina.
This happy theory could totally happen, you guys. Arizona and DeLuca’s sultry sister, Carina, have proven to be a stellar team — in the hospital and elsewhere (*wink-wink, nudge-nudge*). They’re also deeply devoted to studying maternal mortality rates, which Arizona may not be able to do at Grey Sloan much longer if this whole C-section controversy blows up. In that case, it would be a logical move for Arizona and Carina to take their research back to Carina’s native Italy.
1. Arizona quits to spend more time with Sofia.
If we had to put our money on one theory regarding Arizona’s exit, this would be it. Her story lately certainly lends itself well to this arc since Sofia is currently living with her. She also seems to be taking more of her peds cases to heart, which could easily inspire her decision to devote more time to her daughter. There’s a super-sad way this could go or a super-happy one. In the super-sad one, Arizona has no choice because she gets word that Callie has been killed (*gasp*). In the super-happy one, she gets word that Callie and Penny are dunzo, and she quits her job and flies to New York. Her final scene? Callie opens the door, and the two (plus Sofia!) embrace.
8. April’s ex, Matthew, kills her.
C’mon, guys. Really? Matthew isn’t that guy. Right? Right??
7. April rushes in as Maggie and Jackson are about to get married, and she’ll object.
There are several problems with this theory. For starters, that would mean Jackson and Maggie — who only just got close enough to get it on — inexplicably wind up planning a wedding by the season finale. And even if they did and April does do exactly to Jackson what he did to her during her wedding to Matthew, it still wouldn’t make sense because it wouldn’t entail April leaving. Unless Jackson left with her, and Jesse Williams seems to be staying put.
6. April dies by suicide or accidental overdose.
It’s easy to see why some fans would have come to this conclusion considering how tragic April’s behavior has been lately. However, this is a very sensitive subject to tackle, and it’s a stretch to think Grey‘s will try to tackle it this season. If they do, though, fans suspect Arizona will blame herself, thus explaining her abrupt departure.
5. April dies in an alcohol-related car crash (not at Grey Sloan).
This was much more plausible a few weeks ago when April was partying hard with all her interns every night. But she’s had a few hard conversations lately with peers and even patients, and her drinking hasn’t been as much of a focus.
4. April leaves Grey Sloan to run a trauma center for the Harper Avery Foundation.
Considering April’s ex-mother-in-law, Catherine Avery, hinted at this earlier in the season, we’re not ruling it out. Plus, Catherine could act as the one go-between for Jackson and April, eliminating the far-fetched notion that April would abandon her daughter.
3. April reunites with her ex, Matthew, and they live happily ever after.
Matthew has been popping up much more lately due to the fact that his wife died at Grey Sloan giving birth and his newborn daughter, Ruby, has health complications. This theory seemed pretty implausible right after Matthew’s wife’s death because he seemed to blame April. However, recent episodes suggest he blames Arizona instead. If he opens the door for the two of them to reunite, that could give April a renewed sense of purpose and faith. And since Matthew would still be around as a paramedic, he could always allude to April and/or pick up Harriet from Jackson.
2. April enlists for another tour in Afghanistan.
After the death of April and Jackson’s first child, Samuel, going to Afghanistan gave her the time and outlet she needed to heal. This theory predicts that she’ll go once more in search of healing — maybe roped in by Teddy? — but she gets killed in action, thus explaining why she never returns.
1. April gets in some sort of horrible accident and dies at Grey Sloan while her friends work on her.
If you really want to go down an emotional rabbit hole, consider the theory proposed by Redditor Tharushi001. April gets into an accident and is rushed to Grey Sloan, where all the doctors from virtually every department are trying to save her. At that moment, Jackson realizes he is still in love with her and begs her to live. But we can see April, in what seems like a dream, walking away from Jackson’s voice.
“We hear the faint sound of [a] toy truck on the tile and a child initiating the sound of the truck. April stands before the child, whose face we are unable to see because he’s looking down at his toy truck and his curls are covering his face. The child looks up, and we see that he’s a little boy around three with green/blue eyes. He offers her another toy truck and asks if she wants to play pretend with him. Back to trauma room: April comes back into consciousness. She whispers (loud enough that Jackson can hear), ‘Samuel.'” April then dies, reunited with the child they lost. And Jackson is left to raise Harriet, but Maggie will be by his side.
Heart destruction level: total annihilation.