‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Shocker: Krista Vernoff, Ellen Pompeo & [Spoiler] On Season 17 Premiere’s Dream Reunion

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SPOILER ALERT: This fable involves valuable capabilities about tonight’s Season 17 premiere of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.

EXCLUSIVE: ABC’s promo for the Season 17 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy teased a “shocking, jaw-losing ending.” That became as soon as an actual understatement.

In a single in all the series’ biggest twists ever, a cherished persona, Patrick Dempsey’s Derek Shepherd, whose tragic loss of life in an April 2015 episode left fans heartbroken, came support. Precisely, the behind McDreamy seemed in a dream sequence, joining Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey on a beach seconds after Meredith collapsed within the automobile car parking zone of Grey Sloan Memorial.


The sweet Meredith-Derek reunion became as soon as the joyous coda to an emotional two-hour season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy’s 17th season, dedicated to frontline healthcare workers, which marked the conclusion of a Jam 19 crossover. It became as soon as marked by tragedy, as Meredith struggled to take care of the mounting COVID deaths at the sanatorium; infuriate, as medical personnel had been left to combat the disease without ample PPE; hope, as the teenage lady whom DeLuca had unsuccessfully tried to place from human trafficking became as soon as reunited with her household; heartbreak, as Owen refused to reconcile with Teddy despite her pleas for forgiveness; and happiness, as Link and Derek’s sister Amelia took their original child diminutive one boy house. In actuality, loyal minutes after Link introduced their son’s name, Scout Derek Shepherd Lincoln, Derek made his look. While no longer necessarily designed as a clue, “all of it came together moderately beautifully,” Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff and star Pompeo acknowledged.

In an irregular interview with Time limit, which had known relating to the worthy twist, Dempsey, Vernoff and Pompeo expose how the premise for McDreamy’s return came about, how long he’ll stick spherical, how the scene became as soon as filmed, and the mountainous lengths to which the show hide went in thunder to abet the cameo a secret so fans can entirely revel in it.

Vernoff and Pompeo furthermore take care of Meredith’s destiny following her medical emergency and within the context of Pompeo’s contract coming up at the pause of the season, how the valid-existence coronavirus pandemic changed Grey’s Anatomy on and off the show hide hide, whether or no longer will there be COVID casualties among the many workers of Grey Sloan, are there plans for a time bounce, and is there hope for Teddy and Owen.

Dempsey, who has a most cancers foundation, had his bask in questions for Vernoff and Pompeo about whether or no longer inclinations in COVID remedies and the topic of wearing masks are reflected on the show hide.

DEADLINE: Sooner than we disclose about Patrick’s return, let’s take care of the incident that precipitated the cameo, Meredith’s fall down, as a consequence of we normally companion these form of visions with any individual on the level of loss of life. Is Meredith OK? Is that this loyal her being overworked, or is it COVID or something else very serious?

VERNOFF: Neatly, it be valuable to tune in next week. We started the episode with Meredith dreaming of a beach, and at the pause of the episode, she’s dreaming of the beach where Derek happens to be, and that’s what we know to this point.

DEADLINE: How did the premise to bring Patrick support approach about?


VERNOFF: From a author’s level of view, it came about as a consequence of it became as soon as my job to salvage a manner — as soon as we sure that we had been doing the pandemic — to furthermore bring joy, and salvage away, and fan candy, and the entire things that at Grey’s Anatomy we give of us. We give them romance, and we give them humor, and we give them joy, and quite loads of that is lacking for the medical neighborhood in this pandemic. And so, I became as soon as strolling on the beach at some point, and I became as soon as worship, what if there’s a Meredith dream motif?

There bask in been study about how intense our dream existence has been. In the pandemic, of us are having in actuality intense desires as a consequence of of the lockdown. We’re no longer getting ample stimulation, and so, it’s going on in our desires. So, it started as that. It started as, how pause we give of us some salvage away. I had this imagining of a beach motif throughout the season, and I known as Ellen, and I acknowledged, what if we bring support, I don’t know, some unnecessary persona that you presumably can dream of on the beach, that would possibly per chance presumably per chance be so fun for the fans.

And she or he acknowledged, let’s salvage Patrick. Even in my most excitable dream existence, that conception hadn’t befell to me as an chance, and there it became as soon as.

DEADLINE: Ellen, what made you mediate of Patrick?

ABC/Krista Vernoff

POMPEO: Patrick and I each bask in properties in Malibu, and we went for a hike at some point. I had known that Krista wished to pause a beach ingredient, and I became as soon as at the beach. Patrick and I weren’t mountaineering on the beach, however we had been mountaineering in Malibu, which, it is doubtless you’ll presumably well be in a attach to acknowledge the beach.

And the premise loyal struck me so I loyal acknowledged to him, would you ever abet in mind coming and being a little bit of the storytelling this season? I do know that Patrick has his foundation in Maine where he helps most cancers sufferers and most cancers survivors, and that’s a enormous effort of his, and I do know that it’s valuable to him, furthermore, to give of us hope, and supplies of us joy, and we wished to bring something to this moment.

There’s loyal so noteworthy darkness, and we knew that coming together would possibly per chance presumably per chance be a diminutive bit ray of gentle. And so, I mediate we had the same conception, at the core, to are looking to abet of us and bring a smile to of us’s faces. So, he loved the premise, and we had been loyal so mad, and we had a ball filming it.

DEADLINE: Patrick, had been you stunned when Ellen requested? What made you narrate yes?


DEMPSEY: I had quite loads of calls from quite loads of native executive officials in Maine saying, we in actuality prefer to salvage the message within the market, to salvage of us to socially distance, to connect on a camouflage. I came across a photograph that I became as soon as going to post that had Ellen and I, and I mediate that produced a call where I reached out to Ellen, and this became as soon as just spherical, the dialog became as soon as starting for Season 17. And Ellen’s worship, let’s salvage together, I are looking to head over a pair things, I are looking to maintain up.

We hadn’t spoken or been together for a while. It became as soon as a mountainous different to maintain up and narrate, OK, what pause we pause for the entire frontline responders? I’ve been tracking what Grey’s had been doing with giving masks, and making sure that of us had the just tools, and it came from that attach — OK, what pause we pause to fabricate of us feel better, to give some comfort in this time of uncertainty, and that’s the diagram in which it started. And it became as soon as in actuality an out of the ordinary trip to head support, to work with [director/EP] Debbie [Allen].

I mediate the total ambiance has changed, with out a doubt working at the beach, and seeing each person again became as soon as in actuality a very healing process, and in actuality rewarding, and quite loads of fun. And with any luck, that feeling interprets, and the fans revel in it. I do know that they’ve been looking us to salvage support together, and I mediate this can fulfill quite loads of of us, and surprise quite loads of of us, with any luck.

DEADLINE: Used to be it easy to head support into persona?


DEMPSEY: It became as soon as in actuality delicious. It became as soon as in actuality thrilling, and fun, and it became as soon as mountainous to acknowledge each person. Kevin [McKidd, who directs Episode 3] became as soon as there as smartly, so there became as soon as quite loads of acquainted faces, quite loads of most traditional faces. The dynamic within the support of the camera had changed. There’s noteworthy more diversity within the crew. There became as soon as a nice balance, too, of equality that I became as soon as seeing. So, culturally, there became as soon as quite loads of things that had been a selection of, that I believed had been very sure and intensely engrossing, in actuality.

DEADLINE: Ellen, Patrick, did you filmed the beach scene together?


DEADLINE: How became as soon as it one one more, on situation, in persona, after so many years?

photo: ABC

DEMPSEY: Neatly, I in actuality bask in less eyesight than I ancient to, so (laughter). It became as soon as mountainous. It became as soon as in actuality fun, very special. it felt in actuality thoroughly overjoyed, extremely protected. The total process, I in actuality bask in to narrate, from getting tested forward of even exhibiting as a lot as the situation, the total process in which we shot, I felt protected the total time. You felt the crew became as soon as protected. We had the open air situation, and it became as soon as easy.

POMPEO: It felt mountainous. Patrick and I in actuality bask in this chemistry, where I mediate, even from as soon as we first met, for some aim it loyal felt worship we’ve known one one more for a hundred years, and it’s loyal the same feeling. It’s worship using a bike, we loyal bask in a chemistry and a dynamic that’s constantly served us smartly, and I mediate now we bask in a loyal affection for one one more.


And it became as soon as very healing to approach support support, and know that we’re doing something loyal, placing out a definite fable, a healing fable, going to fabricate of us smile, and I mediate, for me, I’m in actuality grateful for the different so that you will almost definitely be at this attach within the show hide where we can pause this. We continually salvage to rewrite, I don’t are looking to narrate the ending, however we salvage to abet the rewrites going, which, I squawk, you writers love, just?

They maintain to initiate up over, to scrap it and rewrite it, and manufacture it better, and that’s what’s fun about this process this a long way along, is getting the different to work with Patrick again, and loyal coming up with tips, how pause we abet gorgeous the fans, and how pause we abet the standard of the show hide up, is what makes it continue to be fun.

DEADLINE: How long is Patrick going to stay spherical for?

VERNOFF: It’s larger than the one scene you saw, Nellie, and it became as soon as loyal pleased. I in actuality are looking to echo that. Patrick and Ellen and I had been all there at the starting of this; I wasn’t there for the pilot, however I became as soon as there for the first seven seasons, and that became as soon as 17 years within the past. That became as soon as, worship, a lifetime within the past; my childhood weren’t alive. It became as soon as so wild to streak out on that beach, and loyal be together again as these a selection of of us that we’re now. But I will’t overstate how pleased and healing an trip this became as soon as.

DEMPSEY: Yeah, for me as smartly. It became as soon as in actuality special. It’s in actuality tough to mediate, 17 years, that’s valuable. I mean, quite loads of us didn’t bask in childhood at that level, just? So, our childhood bask in grown up, they’re now at school. It’s crazy how noteworthy time has handed, however it with out a doubt in actuality became as soon as so comforting, and gorgeous, and provoking to head support, and to work together, to acknowledge each person. It in actuality became as soon as so open, too, that became as soon as the ingredient, in actuality, of us had been very, I mediate, vulnerable in a definite manner, where we had been all grateful to be there and to be together.

DEADLINE: And you’re sport to pause more episodes?

ABC/Krista Vernoff

DEMPSEY: Yeah, it became as soon as fun, as a consequence of I in actuality love the message of what the dynamic is in this fable. With the total thing that we’re dealing with just now, and positively now we bask in been distracted with the election, however we’re going to salvage support into the reality of COVID and being in an outbreak, and the entire lives which bask in been lost. Where are these souls going? And I mediate that’s what attracted me to this storyline, I mediate it is also in actuality purposeful and healing to so many of us.

POMPEO: I furthermore mediate that, in a abnormal manner, the within the support of the scenes of the show hide is certainly paralleling what we need, with the tales that we attach out. What pause we worship relating to the show hide? We worship that the show hide brings of us together. We worship that the show hide with any luck opens of us’s minds, it opens of us’s hearts, and I mediate that, within the working of the show hide and the making of the show hide, if we apply these same principles, if we apply the principles of love first, of acceptance, of open mind, open coronary heart, forgiveness, all of it is, that’s the message of Grey’s.

And for us so that you can mediate that within the support of the scenes, and in actuality streak our streak and disclose our disclose with one one more, these who created the show hide, I mediate, is a terribly out of the ordinary pudgy-circle form of fable for a TV show hide that’s gone on this long.

DEADLINE: How tough became as soon as it to abet Patrick’s return a secret?

VERNOFF: I in actuality bask in to narrate that it became as soon as an fable feat, the conserving of this secret. I didn’t send cuts to the studio and network that integrated that final scene. I didn’t bask in writers’ assistants within the writers’ room for the final couple of months. There had been writers who didn’t know we had been doing this on that workers. Loads of the actors didn’t know we had been doing this. The crew didn’t know we had been doing this after they showed up on the day.

I attach the name “Ellis Grey” within the script that we read at the table, and I had Meredith narrate “Mom” at the table, so we acquired there on the day, and nobody had been educated what became as soon as going on. So, furthermore watching the crew react, and [producer] Linda Klein, who’s been there from the starting, we acquired Norman support, who became as soon as our out of the ordinary hair guy from the starting [Norman T. Leavitt was makeup department head on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy for the first 14 seasons]. I became as soon as worship a crazy person with this secret. And Ellen and I had been texting at all hours of the night, worship, who’s conscious of, I mediate this person.

POMPEO: Completely.

DEADLINE: Will we appreciate Ellis on the show hide this season?

VERNOFF: I don’t know. I don’t know. That it is doubtless you’ll even just bask in to tune in and appreciate who comes to the beach. It’ll be a pleased discovery.

DEADLINE: Ellen, your persona is dealing with quite loads of tragic COVID deaths within the premiere. For you and Krista, will we appreciate some tragedy within the ranks of the Grey Sloan workers too? A form of health workers bask in lost their lives to COVID in valid existence.


POMPEO:  I mediate now we bask in a accountability to essentially show hide what these healthcare workers bask in been going thru. It’s so easy for a worthy piece of the inhabitants to loyal be irritated with wearing a camouflage, they normally’re form of disconnected from what valid doctors and nurses and any individual who works in a sanatorium are in actuality dealing with.

I don’t are looking to disclose for Krista, however I mediate for me, with out a doubt, I saw this as a chance to repeat the fable of how tough this is for our healthcare workers; it’s devastating for them. I mediate Krista will repeat you that they’ve sat down with so many doctors and nurses, they normally hear the tales, they normally’re writing just from these tales that they’re listening to. And this has been devastating, and changed the medical neighborhood ad infinitum.

So now we bask in to show hide, that’s our accountability, to show hide what a fight this is for healthcare workers, and continues to be as we appreciate [COVID] numbers spiking again. We’ve got to confirm out to spread some empathy, and show hide of us that this is extremely valid, and it’s in actuality tough, and the next time you are looking to bask in to bitch about wearing a camouflage, mediate about what these of us bask in to pause. They’ve to connect on a camouflage, they’ve to connect on pudgy PPE, pudgy cappers. They actually bask in to pause 50 things loyal so that you can create their job.


VERNOFF: I in actuality bask in to narrate that I have confidence worship Ellen did an out of the ordinary job in that premiere, paying admire to healthcare workers with her performance. The ingredient that she did is precisely what I’ve been talking about so noteworthy, which is that these doctors and nurses who approach to the writers’ room as soon as a year. They are pleased and mad, they normally’re constantly there to repeat us these thrilling tales. And this year, it felt worship, it became as soon as the first time they had been talking to any individual.

It became as soon as the first destroy they had been taking. It became as soon as the first time any individual became as soon as asking them what they had been living thru, and to a person, it felt worship they had been on the verge of breaking. They had been a selection of of us, and I felt worship Ellen so beautifully embodied it throughout this episode, the commerce, what this pandemic is doing to of us that had been trained to abet and heal, however no longer trained to streak thru battle, and no longer trained to lose dozens of sufferers, as soon as in a while in a day.

It’s breaking them, and I have confidence worship we’re already exhibiting the tension and the impact, and yes, there’ll be more of that, and by some ability, we’re furthermore bringing joy. We’ve been in moderation threading this needle, of paying honor and homage, and telling the reality of this fable, while discovering ways to furthermore bring joy to the audience, and I’m in actuality inquisitive about Season 17.

DEADLINE: You’re no longer going to ticket whether or no longer any individual on the show hide is in jeopardy, are you?

VERNOFF: Neatly, for sure, Nellie, for sure of us are in jeopardy. Meredith collapses at the pause of the premiere. Other folks are in jeopardy, and a pair of of us are in jeopardy throughout the season, in myriad ways, as a consequence of that’s the moment we’re living thru.

DEADLINE: Ellen, ought to we read more into Meredith’s fall down in gentle of you figuring out your future on the show hide? That it is doubtless you’ll even just bask in acknowledged that you’re no longer sure what you’re going to pause past this season.


POMPEO: You would possibly per chance presumably well be in a attach to’t read into the leisure. In actuality, that’s unhealthy territory. I mediate that, collectively, we, or creatively, it’s the same this year as it constantly is. Is there a aim to continue? What tales pause now we bask in to repeat? What characters pause now we bask in to bring support that supplies us fable to repeat? I acknowledged in a single more interview final week, we’re constantly in this extremely sweet situation with this show hide, for regardless of aim.

We constantly bask in out of the ordinary conditions that allow us to continue creatively, whether or no longer it’s tips, or conditions that occur. Our aim is loyal to fabricate loyal TV. I mediate we’re all attentive to the icon station of the show hide, we’re so attentive to that, and I mediate that that’s why Patrick became as soon as so humble and so grateful so that you can approach support support, as a consequence of we’re very grateful that now we bask in this gargantuan platform. And I don’t mediate any of us maintain the platform that now we bask in lightly.

And so, at this level, I mediate, we don’t know what we’re going to pause. All people is conscious of that we’re grateful, and we know that we’re looking to show hide our gratitude, and grateful to one one more making the show hide, that we’re in a attach to abet persevering with to grow, and to repeat tales that we mediate are valuable, and getting this moment. Hear, who will get career runs worship this? Patrick Dempsey’s been working since he’s … I do know he’s been working off-camera even earlier, however I mean, when became as soon as your first role, Patrick, within the event you had been 16 or 17?

DEMPSEY: Sixteen, 17, so 30 years.

POMPEO: Who will get a hunch worship that? So, I loyal mediate that we’re extremely grateful so that you can aloof be right here, and be telling these tales that we feel are valuable, and we’ll appreciate. Creatively, this is our heavy-lifting, to abet raising the bar for ourselves, however we’ve acquired something mountainous, which is we’ve acquired gratitude, and we’re all super, creative of us. So, if there’s a manner to figure it out, we with out a doubt will.

DEMPSEY: The vary of feelings, where you’re getting a wager to shout, however you’re furthermore getting a wager to mumble, I mediate that’s a enormous success within the storytelling. The total amble has been valuable on so many ranges, being a little bit of this show hide for so many years, and it’s profoundly changed my existence in so many ways. I’m very grateful for that, and with any luck to use that platform in a definite manner, where you’re doing something loyal. And I’m grateful to be a little bit of this show hide at this explain moment in time.

DEADLINE: The premiere is determined in April 2020. Krista, will the show hide speedy forward to now?

VERNOFF: We’re no longer speedy forwarding. We’re taking part in it thru. So, by the level it’s airing, most of what we’re doing is nearly a year within the past, within the timeline. And there’s more joy.

DEMPSEY: Attach you salvage into how the disease is treated over time as smartly? Attach you salvage into how the science — and I mediate it is a very noteworthy ingredient for us to take into accout and to essentially mediate within the science, within the breakthroughs that they’re making on a each day basis. How pause you music that, and has that been piece of your dialog?


VERNOFF: It’s miles. It’s a relentless piece of the dialog, and now we bask in three doctors on workers now who approach into the writers’ room quite loads of the time, and now we bask in quite loads of conversations of even the evolution, what you perceive when it comes to the maintaining equipment that they’re wearing within the premiere versus the evolution of the maintaining equipment, when are they treating with ventilators and when are they no longer. There had been drug study and drug trials, and we’re doing our finest to be loyal about that development, and furthermore the evolution within the hospitals.

Grey Sloan within the premiere has a definite COVID ward, and these intake tents, and then, at some stage at some level of the season, other areas evolve to abet COVID sufferers, and we’re listening to news about other hospitals. Washington became as soon as hit in actuality tough early on. So, we’re seeking to play thru all of that.

DEMPSEY: Sorry, apply-up question, if I could per chance presumably per chance also just. Attach you salvage into the politics of the camouflage, and how that impacts in a detrimental or a definite manner? Attach you inch down that facet road at all?

VERNOFF: We are attempting and preserve faraway from overt politics, and the politicizing of the camouflage is an actual ingredient that came about. So, we’re no longer talking about politicians. We loyal don’t pause that at Grey’s Anatomy, partly as a consequence of we desire the show hide to be for all people, and we don’t desire it to develop into so polarizing, where it feels worship we’re preaching from some explain pulpit. We’re loyal sticking with the science, and the reaction of doctors to the premise that of us are no longer figuring out and/or no longer believing that masks are imperative to provide protection to other of us and themselves.

So, we’re taking part in it thru persona, is the reply, worship what an outrage it is for these doctors, who use their lives and their all-day, every-day, seeking to place of us, to acknowledge human beings within the market selecting no longer to provide protection to their fellow human beings, as a consequence of they’re no longer believing in science, they normally’re no longer believing scientists.

DEADLINE: How is filming going? Grey’s became as soon as one in all the first reveals to shut down production early within the pandemic to provide protection to the solid and crew. How is it now, with the original COVID wave? I write tales about shutdowns nearly about day by day.

VERNOFF: I mean, knocking wood, to this point.

POMPEO: Intellectual to this point, yeah. We’re loyal. Of route, the leisure can occur at any moment, however I mediate that collectively, each person’s in actuality cautious. And again, we’re seeking to be conscious of one one more, and we’re seeking to be conscious of how we’re living our lives as soon as we’re no longer at work, as a consequence of that’s the super ingredient to pause, and now we bask in to approach support to work and abet each person protected. No one desires to salvage shut down.


VERNOFF: We’re in actuality cautious in our creating of the show hide, furthermore, to abet the actors feel protected. We shut down forward of different reveals, we furthermore came support to production forward of quite loads of different reveals, thanks to essentially the management of Debbie Allen. There became as soon as some management from me, however for sure, it became as soon as guided by Debbie Allen going, if we don’t approach support, we’re never going to approach support support, approach on, Krista, we’re coming support. Insist a date, situation a date, situation a date, where’s the scripts? Let’s inch, let’s inch, let’s inch.

She kept saying, while you attach a date on the calendar, we’re going to work toward it, and we’re going to establish the appropriate diagram to pause it safely, and we in actuality did figure out the appropriate diagram to pause it safely. We had been lucky that we’re situation in a sanatorium, in voice that our actors, after they’re working together tightly, is also in masks. On the opposite hand it became as soon as furthermore my job, and the job of the writers, to approach support up with plans and motifs that allowed the audience to acknowledge the actors’ faces, and the actors to feel protected in that.

So, you didn’t loyal appreciate a beach motif, which is a continuous motif thru the season, and it became as soon as designed, that explain motif, in voice that Ellen would possibly per chance presumably per chance approach to work with out a camouflage and feel protected, as a consequence of she’s open air; the epidemiologists bask in been sure about how noteworthy safer open air is. But you furthermore saw, for the first time in 17 seasons, Meredith’s house support yard. We built a backyard situation on the exterior of the lot, open air the writers’ bungalow, in voice that these actors would possibly per chance presumably per chance give us some no-camouflage time, and feel protected within the starting.

And more and more, we’re figuring out the appropriate diagram to abet all people protected indoors, so we’re getting a diminutive bit bit more without masks indoors, however at the starting, we had to essentially be creative, when it comes to how are we doing this, how are we conserving ourselves protected, how are we serving to them feel protected, and how are we giving the fans a show hide that’s pleased as well to exact.

DEADLINE: And one final question: is there any hope for Teddy and Owen?

VERNOFF: Teddy is doing loyal. They’ve acquired a protracted haul, Nellie. If there’s hope for them, it’s within the ethers, however you know, I didn’t bask in quite loads of hope that Patrick Dempsey became as soon as going to be support on Grey’s Anatomy final year, and peek where we’re. So…

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