Don't expect Grey's Anatomy to come back for season 17 with the same four episodes that were planned before production shut down.
Showrunner Krista Vernoff, who also helms Station 19, has not yet met with the writers or made plans for season 17, whenever it happens, but she could tell us one thing: some things will have to change.
Part of the Grey's finale would have dealt with the bombing at Pac-North that we saw play out on Station 19's finale tonight, and we would have seen even more references to Grey's had things gone as planned.
"We had to go into some of the episodes of Station 19 and pull some scenes and some dialogue, but not too much," Vernoff says. "It's more going to affect Grey's in the fall, like we had built to a finale that we didn't get to shoot. We didn't get to shoot he last four episodes, so for sure what we were planning to do is changing, and we want to keep some of it and some of it's going to change. We're not going to do a bombing on Station 19's finale and then do it on Grey's [next season]."
Those four episodes will likely not see the light of day as written.
"No, we can't do that. We can't just pick up with the plan that we had for the finale as the premiere. I don't think that's gonna work," she says. "I think that we have some material in the can that we want to air in some way, and I think that we will take what was going to be episode 1622 and we will keep some of the storylines, but we have to find a way to turn it into a premiere, and premieres and finales are different from, you know, random episodes. So we've got our work cut out for us."
That's the truth in more ways than one.
First of all, no one knows yet when production will be able to begin again, and ABC hasn't even announced if Station 19 would return along with Grey's or at midseason again, which would affect the stories being told on both shows.
Second, Grey's and Station 19 are both shows following the types of professions that are currently essential and on the frontlines of the pandemic.
"Let me tell you, it was already a giant puzzle, and now it's just like...this is what I'm saying. My answer to every question is, I don't know," she says. "We're gonna figure it out. We're gonna fasten our seatbelts and eat our nutritious breakfast. Figure it out somehow. But it's not an easy starting point."
Vernoff warned us at the beginning of our chat that she would not have many answers for us, as she likes to spend her usual hiatus collapsed on her sofa.
"I shut [my brain] off between seasons. I binge watch TV, I read books, I do not think about the show, which is why I've just done an hour of interviews where my answer to almost every question is I don't know."
That means she also hasn't allowed herself to think about how the shows will handle the pandemic.
"I refuse to think about work when I'm not at work," she says. "I mean, yeah, have I had that conversation with my husband over breakfast like, wow, what are we gonna do? Yes, but between the two shows, I've got like 20 brilliant minds to put to this. I'm not going to torture myself by myself in my living room. I would rather play my guitar. So I really don't know."
May we all aspire to live like Krista Vernoff, and hope that production can safely resume sometime soon.
Grey's Anatomy and Station 19 air on ABC.