Fourteen seasons in and Grey’s Anatomy is still keeping viewers on their toes. The Season 13 finale in May 2017 brought one big shakeup to Grey Sloan — Owen Hunt’s long-presumed-dead sister is actually not — Megan Hunt is alive! But when you see her, you may not recognize her. That’s because the role of Megan Hunt is being played by a different actress this time around. Why did Grey’s Anatomy recast Megan Hunt? Like so many things in Hollywood, it all comes down to scheduling.
Owen Hunt has always talked sort of peripherally about his lost sister, but it wasn’t until Nathan Riggs came to Grey Sloan that the story (or both sides of it, at least) were revealed. Riggs, Megan, and Owen were all doctors in the army together. According to Riggs’ side of the story, they needed to transport a patient via helicopter, and there was only one seat left. Megan argued that it was her patient, she won the argument, and she jumped on that helicopter. It never made it to its intended destination, shot down or crashed in enemy airspace. Riggs wanted to look for her, but Owen wanted to stop and Riggs did. The story of Megan’s disappearance is different from Owen’s eyes — Owen said that Riggs was cheating on Megan and wasn’t even there the day she disappeared. Owen said that Megan called him to tell him she was leaving to get away from her Riggs. Really, though, Owen told Megan to get on the helicopter to get away from Riggs. Thus, they both blame themselves for Megan’s disappearance and assumed death. Cue the guilt and the tears.
But now Megan is back! Ten years after she went missing, she was found in the basement of a house in a rebel neighborhood. She was left there after a raid, but was mostly healthy and ready to come home. After a stay in a German hospital, she was sent to Seattle, and Owen, Riggs, and Amelia went to meet her at Madigan Army Medical Center. The trio had been warned that Megan may not be communicative because of her time in capture, so that’s something we’ll have to see come to fruition in Season 14.
Earlier, Megan Hunt was played by Bridget Regan, whom you may recognize from Jane The Virgin and The Last Ship. This time around, Abigail Spencer of Mad Men, Rectified, and Timeless fame will take the role? Why? Regan is a series regular on TNT’s The Last Ship (with Grey’s Anatomy alum Eric Dane), and she just doesn’t have the time to commit to a multi-episode arc on Grey’s Anatomy. Completely understandable. Regan offered her blessing of the casting on Twitter:
Spencer will be on for multiple episodes, but because her show Timeless was ceremoniously cancelled and then uncancelled (that never happens), it's safe to say that Spencer won't be a series regular anytime soon.
Now that casting is settled, the focus can turn onto what it will be like to have Megan back in Owen and Riggs' life. Owen is married to Amelia, who is very supportive of his getting to know his sister again, but Riggs is a little more complicated. He's been dating (if you can call it dating, since Meredith is such a commitment-phobe) Meredith on and off for a season, and just when things were ramping up to the next level, Riggs gets the news that Megan is alive. Can't Meredith ever be happy?
Meredith isn't mad, though — she encourages Riggs to go to Megan because she would do the same if she could bring Derek back from the dead. Meredith and Riggs both understand loss, so to undo that loss is all either of them want. Megan's reappearance will certainly stir up a lot of new feelings at Grey Sloan.