Ellen Pompeo teased Grey's Anatomy coming to an end with Season 17, but another star who has been there since the beginning, Chandra Wilson, said fans do not have to worry. Wilson, who stars as Dr. Miranda Bailey, told Entertainment Tonight she is sure no one is ready for Season 17 to be the end of Grey's Anatomy. The actress, who also appeared on Private Practice and Station 19, noted that it would be sad to see the series end during the coronavirus pandemic.
"I know from a creative standpoint there have been many 'This is how the season would end' conversations and then they all end up [not happening] because of a myriad of reasons," Wilson told Entertainment Tonight Wednesday. "Because the network's not ready, the studio's not ready, the fanbase isn't ready, the numbers are too good, all of those things." She later added that everyone decided "we're not going to put an end on it. We're just going to wait and see."
Wilson later said they do not want to end the show with a downbeat season that focuses on COVID-19. "Or do we want us to be able to put some nice ribbons around it with rainbows and balloons and things?" she wondered. As actors though, the cast is ready to do whatever the writers and producers decide. "So greater powers have those conversations than us," she added.
This season has seen Pompeo's Meredith Grey contract the virus and fall unconscious. During her coma, Meredith has been visited by deceased characters, including McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey) and George (T.R. Knight). Wilson said the entire cast worked hard to make sure these cameos did not leak before the episode aired. "We just really wanted it to be a surprise," she said. "We always keep in touch over the years and that relationship didn't end because the character ended so it was having the baby back at home."
In October, Pompeo told Variety it was possible that Season 17 could be the last for Grey's Anatomy. "I’m constantly fighting for the show as a whole to be as good as it can be. As a producer, I feel like I have permission to be able to do that," Pompeo, who is now one of the producers on the series, said at the time, "I mean, this is the last year of my contract right now. I don’t know that this is the last year? But it could very well could be."
Wilson, Pompeo, and James Pickens Jr., who stars as Dr. Richard Webber, are the only actors who have appeared in all 17 seasons of Grey's Anatomy. This week's episode did not include any major returns, but it still featured a powerful ending, where the names of Americans who died from the coronavirus were shown on the screen. Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.