The show will go on! Shonda Rhimes, mastermind behind the hit medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” and Ellen Pompeo, who stars on the ABC series as Meredith Grey, both want fans to move on from the death of McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey)… because they certainly have.
During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the two divulged that despite the 108,000 petition signatures on Change.org that urge the showrunner to revive Derek from the dead, the sexy surgeon – that we have all grown to know and love since the series premiere in 2005 – is not coming back. And according to Rhimes, that’s OK because like Cristina (Sandra Oh) had previously told Meredith during Season 10: Derek is “not the sun” (or the protagonist for that matter).
“When Cristina said that, Meredith realized that she had been taking a back seat to allow this man to get what he wanted,” the executive producer explained. “In an effort not to become her mother, she had tried too hard to become something less. What I loved about Season 11 was her saying, ‘That’s not who I am.’ It was so interesting for me to discover that audiences, especially women, are so conditioned to believe that there’s a singular fairy tale that nobody stops to think that that might not be the definition of happiness. Meredith knew that already. We got to the point in the season when Meredith said, ‘I can live without you, but I don’t want to,’ which for any woman is a very powerful statement. It means: You compliment me, but you don’t complete me.”
So, the Season 12 storyline of “Grey’s Anatomy” will focus around Meredith and her owning up to her promise of being able to “live without” her other half.
“Meredith is single and she is living this life that she’s never thought she’d be living again. She’s living in a house with her sisters. She’s surrounded by women who are dating and having a whole life and she’s not interested in all that,” Rhimes shared during the 2015 TCA Summer Press tour. “[Meredith is] starting to wonder is there a second life here or are your best years behind you? I guess the theme [of Season 12] is rebirth. That evolution for that character is beautiful.”
However, some fans aren’t excited to watch Meredith embark on a new, Derek-less journey. And according to Pompeo, that backlash has bruised her ego a bit.
“Let’s keep it really real for a second and say this is really difficult for my ego,” the actress told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s okay! We all have one!”
The artist then questioned why it’s so strange for fans to watch her character lead the series while it’s acceptable for her fellow Shondaland co-stars, Viola Davis and Kerry Washington, to rule with an iron first during their perspective shows, “Hot to Get Away With Murder” and “Scandal.”
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) September 6, 2015
“It’s like, Annalise Keating (Davis) carries the show, Olivia Pope (Washington) carries the show,” Pompeo acknowledged. “But somehow, Meredith Grey needs someone. Why can’t I just be the lead of the show the way Annalise and Olivia can? Why can’t I be on that poster by myself?”
"We just started the second episode today. The first episode has been focused on Meredith's career and her new living situation, who she's going to live with. So we're not so far in, and I know the focus this year is going to be how do you move on in the face of tragedy? And she's got three kids, so I guess to dive into her kids and work is the most logical place,” she revealed.
Fans can watch Meredith take on the world with Derek when Season 12 airs on Thursday, Sept. 14, at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.