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‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Panel Teases Ellen Pompeo’s Directorial Debut, Japril’s Future & More – PaleyFest

Deadline logo Deadline 3/20/2017 Liz Calvario
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SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of an upcoming episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

The Grey’s Anatomy cast took center stage at Sunday’s PaleyFest, where fans gathered at the Dolby Theatre to see their favorite actors from the Shonda Rhimes-created ABC series. The last time the hit show took part in the PaleyFest celebration was in 2006 and now 11 years later, the cast returned to tease  Ellen Pompeo’s directorial debut and what’s next in this heavy-hitting drama. 

In attendance were Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens, Jr., Kevin McKidd, Jessica Capshaw, Jesse Williams, Sarah Drew, Caterina Scorsone, Camilla Luddington, Jerrika Hinton, Kelly McCreary, Jason George, Martin Henderson, Giacomo Gianniotti and executive producer Debbie Allen.

The festivities kicked off by showing episode 18 of Season 13, Pompeo’s directorial debut, which will air March 30. The episode omitted any advancements in telling the main characters’ personal storylines and love lives, instead focusing on Maggie’s (Kelly McCreary) mom Diane’s (LaTonya Richardson Jackson) cancer, which had spread.

When asked why she decided to go behind the camera, Pompeo said Allen wanted her to direct and “wouldn’t take no for answer.”

“This force of nature wouldn’t take no for an answer, and I’m forever grateful to her for that,” Pompeo stated. When asked if she was nervous about directing, she replied, “I’ve been doing this show for 13 seasons, so I wasn’t really nervous about any of the scenes, not to sound arrogant… I have the best cast in the world. I wasn’t really afraid of anything.” Pompeo continued by explaining that she was most nervous about the technical aspects of directing but trusted her cast and had the best mentor. “I was lucky to have Debbie Allen right with me every step of the way, so when I was tired or confused, she jumped in.”

In the emotional episode that had fans wiping away tears, Maggie will get some advice from her mother, who tells her to enjoy life, “be slutty” and not be so uptight. McCreary previewed a change for her character in the next episodes, saying, “I think major life events enable you to shift your perspective and reevaluate what you think is important to you…For a long time, being one version of herself was the right way to do things.”

Last week, Grey’s fans saw a steamy hookup between Jackson (Williams) and April (Drew). The question everyone was wondering was, “Will they get back together?”

“I honestly think the main takeaway is that these two people, there’s so much love there, there’s so much respect there, they know each other so well, so whether it continues toward romance or stays platonic, we know these two people are going to be OK,” Drew explained, staying coy about the couple’s future. “E verything’s hopeful… They know each other so well and respect each other. They will be okay in the end no matter what.”

Another couple that might not be going anywhere anytime soon is Meredith and Nathan Riggs (Henderson). Maggie has feelings for Riggs, who has feelings for Meredith, and Meredith is aware that her friend is harboring feelings for her new suitor. When asked whether Meredith would choose her sister over Riggs, Pompeo replied, “Women have to stick together.”

And Henderson’s reply to that: “I would respect it, but I think it would be sad because all men know that it’s impossible to be a great man without a good woman by your side.”

The actor teased that he’s had a wonderful time playing a character “that’s polarizing,” adding, “There’s this mystery and enigma as to, is he a good guy, is he a bad guy? As an actor, after a couple seasons on the show, I’m looking forward to the opportunity for Nathan to be a in a relationship — whether it’s platonic or not — to see who he is deep down.”

As for Amelia (Scorsone) and Owen’s (McKidd) relationship, things are looking sour now that Amelia doesn’t want kids. “He desperately wants a baby,” McKidd explained. “Owen’s really struggling. He’s a very tortured guy, he thinks the thing that’s going to fix him is to have a family with this woman, but she doesn’t want to right now. He’s waiting and he loves her and he’s tortured and we’ll see what happens.”

Other couple teasers include Arizona’s (Capshaw) new relationship with Eliza (Marika Domińczyk). “I find myself at a point where there’s something exciting happening for her, there’s a newness. This season I feel like is the beginning of creating something new,” Capshaw shared. “I have no idea if she’s the one, but it’s been really fun to explore their relationship.”

As for Alex and Jo, “He wants to marry her,” Chambers stated. When asked if he would like his character to end up with Jo or someone else, he replied, “Anything is possible, especially on Grey’s Anatomy. Who knows? He might end up with Catherine. I’d like to see how it fleshes out, the relationship with him and Jo.”

The panel also touched on Jackson finally meeting his dad, Robert Avery (Eric Roberts), and if they would have more moments together in the future. “I hope so,” Williams replied. “I think there’s a lot left to do there,” with Allen also teasing, “We planted a lot of seeds this season, and that’s one that could resonate in a lot of ways, but there’s more coming.”

All in all, if the Grey’s cast had to sum up what’s next for the series: “The end of this season is hot,” stated Allen. 

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