Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff reveals she develops new ideas every year for the show’s end. Having long surpassed ER for the title of the longest-running medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy continues to reign supreme over on ABC 16 years after it first began in 2005. The series has endured behind the scenes drama, a rotating door of cast changes, and countless shocking plot twists. Most recently, Grey’s Anatomy season 17 centered on the coronavirus pandemic and left its leading lady, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), battling the virus for most of its episodes.
As the show has been on for so long, it’s inevitable that some fans would begin to wonder just when it will end. Due to Pompeo’s expiring contract, it looked like season 17 could’ve been the end for Grey’s Anatomy; it was a question that followed the show all throughout the season, with the finale even being written as a series ender. Then in May, Pompeo signed a new deal with ABC that paved the way for Grey’s Anatomy to score another season. Still, even with its 18th run currently airing, the question of whether this could now be its last lingers.
Should season 18 truly be the end for Grey’s Anatomy, showrunner Krista Vernoff is prepared. That’s because she devises new endings for the show every season. Speaking on the At Home with the Creative Coalition podcast (via People), Vernoff explained she has an idea for the series’ conclusion “percolating in my mind.” However, it hasn’t always been the same, as she went on to add, “And the percolating changes. I had some ideas percolating during the first seven seasons — I used to pitch things to Shonda Rhimes and she’d go, ‘That’s a season eight idea.’” Vernoff further expanded on what this means, saying:
Meaning, that’s the final-season-of-the-show idea. And now, we blew so far past season eight, we’re in season 18. So your idea of where the characters are going to end changes each year. Every year, I never know if I’m writing the last season of the show, literally. I percolate new ideas every year. If we ended it this year, what would it be?
Last week’s season 18 premiere was a jam-packed one that saw Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) and Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) finally tie the knot and season 14 guest star Nick Marsh, played by Scott Speedman, join the cast full time. With the season so new, it’s hard to predict how it could spiral into a fitting sendoff for Grey’s Anatomy. Vernoff has some ideas bubbling, but that also doesn’t mean she’ll need to implement any of them. It’s a long way to the end of the season, and anything can happen.
It would be hard to imagine a television landscape without Grey’s Anatomy, but all shows must come to an end eventually. Many speculated that since season 17 brought back so many beloved characters like Derek Shepard (Patrick Dempsey) and Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), it had to be the end. That obviously didn’t happen, but now Grey’s Anatomy season 18 is doing the same once again. Might this truly be the last season for this soapy drama? Fans will have to wait and find out.