‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Subtly Hinted at an April and Jackson Spinoff in Season 12
When Dr. Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) and Dr. April Kepner (Sarah Drew) first appeared in Grey’s Anatomy Season 6, they were a part of Seattle Grace’s rival hospital, Mercy West. At the time, Chief Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr) merged the hospital to save some cash. While their arrival was initially unwelcomed by their peers, including Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), April and Jackson evolved into confident and successful trauma and plastic surgeons.
As Grey’s Anatomy progressed, the longtime friends and co-workers grew into lovers, partners, parents, and divorcees. In Season 14, their love story temporarily ended when Sarah left the show after eight seasons. Jesse made his exit three seasons later, giving fans one last “Japril” episode.
Since Jackson departed from Grey Sloan Hospital, fans have begged him and Sarah to reunite for a spinoff centered around his desire to help underserved people through his family’s Catherine Fox Foundation. But Grey’s viewers may have overlooked a spinoff teaser in past seasons.
Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams wanted to show Jackson and April’s road to their wedding day on ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’
In Season 8, April and Jackson take their friendship to the next level by sleeping together for the first time. Although she felt guilty about losing her virginity, she and Jackson continue sleeping together in Season 9. Then, April falls for a fireman named Matthew (Justin Bruening), who shares her religious views. However, she’s still in love with Jackson but agrees to marry Matthew after he proposes in Season 9, Episode 23, “Readiness Is All.”
Ultimately, April chose Jackson over Matthew after Jackson professed his love at her wedding. They then ran away together, took a road trip to Nevada, and secretly eloped. While the marriage moved seemingly quickly, Sarah said she and Jesse wanted to show more of what led to her becoming Mrs. Jackson Avery.
"We had a whole pitch for an entire series based on that road trip," she told Insider.
Although an entire series never made the cutting room floor, Grey’s has given fans three episodes based on Japril’s relationship. Season 12’s “Unbreak My Heart” followed the couple’s road trip to Nevada, their impromptu wedding, and several arguments over their religious beliefs and Jackson’s wealth.
Do Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams want an April and Jackson-centered ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ spinoff?
After their divorce was finalized in Season 12, April discovered she and Jackson were expecting another baby. In the following season, their baby, Samuel, died of osteogenesis imperfecta type II. Even though they remained divorced, April and Jackson co-parented their daughter, Harriet. April also reunited with Matthew and the pair married in Season 14. Once Jackson decided to leave Seattle in Season 17, he asked his ex-wife to move with him so they could continue raising Harriet as a unit.
As the episode progresses, we learn that April and Matthew have separated, leaving hope for a Japril reunion. Like many Grey’s fans, Jesse and Sarah wouldn’t mind seeing their characters rekindle their romance. Sarah said Jackson and April’s love story transcends the marriage they shared and eventual divorce.
“That relationship — both just between the two of us as humans, but also the Japril relationship — is so meaningful to both of us," she told Insider May 2021 before her Grey’s return.
While Jesse didn’t confirm nor deny a spinoff, he explained that Japril would remain a fan favorite, whether their story continues or not.
"There's Grey's Anatomy scenes, and there's Japril scenes," Jesse explained. “Our stuff was its own tunnel."
Grey’s Anatomy airs on Thursdays at 9 pm EST on ABC.