'Grey's Anatomy' Season 12 Casting News: April To Become Chief? Plus Which Star Just Signed A Major Contract Extension?

As Grey's Anatomy enters its new season, many questions still linger on just how the show will look without Derek Shepherd. With Derek gone and Meredith possibly the next one out, the real question is which characters, new and old, will play more prominent roles in the coming season.

Although some have speculated that the show was preparing April to potentially become a new chief on the medical drama, Sarah Drew isn't convinced that her character is ready for that kind of commitment.

"I don't think she would have any interest in being chief," Drew explained to Entertainment Weekly.

"There's so much paperwork. You get buried in the politics of the hospital. All she wants to do is get her hands dirty. She wants to be in traumatic situations, fixing and healing people. She has found herself to be a healer in a pretty dramatic way that goes beyond being a surgeon. There's something that spiritual for her."
Although April might not be stepping up to become a chief anytime soon, the show is introducing one new character to replace Derek. Martin Henderson is ready to fill in the gap left by Patrick Dempsey's character as a brand new surgeon on the show.

Henderson has past experience playing in a medical drama, so his transition into Grey's Anatomy should be relatively smooth. The New Zealand actor played a doctor in ABC's Off the Map. He also has had roles in two other Australian shows, including Secrets and Lies and The Red Road.

At the same time, following the unexpected and tragic death of Derek on the show, many are speculating that Meredith's time on the show is also coming to an end. Zap2It has reported that Shonda Rhimes might have a way to end Meredith's storyline via Alzheimer's disease.

Meredith was tested back in Season 9 for the disease, and she did end up testing positive. While this would be yet another tragic way for one of the main characters to go out, using Alzheimer's would be a powerful way to end Meredith's story without introducing a new romance for her.

In other news, at least Callie and Arizona will have new opportunities to work things out in Season 12. According to TVLine, Jessica Capshaw has signed a three year contract with Grey's Anatomy. This means Arizona will be on the show until at least 2018, if the series continues for that long.

Season 12 of Grey's Anatomy premieres September 24 on ABC.