Why Grey's Anatomy Will Be Fine Without McDreamy, According To Shonda Rhimes

Grey’s Anatomy is going to look a lot different when it returns for Season 12. The ABC drama has shifted a bit, thanks to McDreamy’s death and a time hop that will pickup three months after the events that occurred in the Season 12 finale (the second time jump since Derek died). Recently, Shonda Rhimes revealed that Grey’s Anatomy will be just fine without McDreamy and with a bigger focus on Meredith, noting that’s it’s the journey that Meredith started in Season 11 that will bring the show to a new place in Season 12. Here’s what she had to say about Meredith:

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.

When Rhimes was speaking with EW, she also mentions that for a long time Meredith was “taking a backseat” to Derek so that he could pursue his dreams and do what he wanted to do. And while ultimately Meredith still loved Derek in the time just before and after his ultimate accident, she had already become a bit more self-focused in the series during Season 11.

Honestly, when McDreamy was killed off the show, a lot of fans were furious with the way the storyline went down. Many even signed a Change.org petition stating Derek needed to be brought back, although since Grey’s Anatomy has never featured supernatural elements, I’m unsure how that could possibly have been achieved. Still, the point is, losing McDreamy was a big blow to fans, and now it seems as if the Grey’s Anatomy team is doing what it can to salvage the relationship and get fans excited about where Season 12 is headed.

It’s not just Rhimes who is doing this. Lead actress Ellen Pompeo has had to assert herself and will need to show she can lead a show without Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh or other popular Grey’s Anatomy cast members to back her. Here’s what she had to say.

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?

Meredith Grey has always been the title character on Grey’s Anatomy, but the show has always done well with fans because it followed a diverse cast of hospital staff that audiences could identify with. And while a slew of new names have been added in recent years, including Martin Henderson who just signed on for Season 12, Meredith is still the key focal point. She’ll just have to move forward with no epic romance to back her.

Grey’s Anatomy returns to the schedule on Thursday, September 24 at 8 p.m. ET, only on ABC.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.