'Grey's Anatomy' Season 17: Chandra Wilson Shares How She Wants the Show to End

Grey’s Anatomy debuted on ABC in 2005. Since then, its viewers have watched former surgical resident Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) become a chief general surgeon, mother, wife, and widow. Additionally, fans saw Dr. Miranda Bailey’s (Chandra Wilson) journey from Meredith’s chief resident to the chief of surgery.

Grey’s showrunner Krista Vernoff recently revealed that the series could end in 2021. Wilson shared her thoughts on season 17 possibly being the show’s last. 

Chandra Wilson said ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ deserves ‘the biggest celebration’ if it ends in Season 17

Wilson is one of the only remaining original cast members on Grey’s Anatomy. She joined the cast in 2004, following her Broadway run on Caroline, or Change. For 17 seasons, she’s told Bailey’s stories, including divorce, raising her son, Tuck, alone while working, and eventually getting married to Ben Warren (James Winston George). As an actor, Wilson received three Emmy nominations for her role as Bailey. 

Rumors regarding Grey’s Anatomy’s future started during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many shows, the series shut down production in March 2020. When it returned to filming late last year, the cast and crew shot six episodes aired in Nov. and Dec. 2020. Unfortunately, the new protocols set in place for the team became a “source of frustration” for Vernoff. The showrunner recently told Variety that she’s planning to create the season 17 finale like a series finale. However, she has yet to make a final decision regarding the show’s future remains unknown. 

In an interview with the AP, Wilson, who reportedly earns $125,000 per episode of Grey’s, said she would like to see the show end with a proper finale. Currently, the series is the longest-running medical drama. 

“I think after 17 seasons, our show deserves the biggest celebration, end, final season ever,” Wilson said.

The Miranda Bailey actor recently confirmed that ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ isn’t ending

Before Vernoff’s latest comments about Grey’s Anatomy’s future, Wilson spoke to Entertainment Tonight and said the show wouldn’t end in 2021. She said that, creatively, she felt the characters have more stories to tell. Additionally, Wilson added that she wouldn’t want the final season to focus on COVID, a focal point of season 17. 

“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,” the Miranda Bailey actor said. “Because the network’s not ready, the studio’s not ready; the fan base isn’t ready, the numbers are too good, all of those things. Collectively, they’ve decided we’re not going to put an end on it. We’re just going to wait and see.”

Chandra Wilson is also a director on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ 

If Grey’s Anatomy is coming to an end in season 17, Wilson said to AP that she’s proud of the legacy the show will leave behind. She noted several fans, particularly women of color, write to her and say Bailey inspired them to pursue surgical careers. 

Wilson also uses her impact on Grey’s Anatomy behind the scenes. Throughout her time on the show, she started directing episodes around season 10. When asked to share her favorite episode of Grey’s with Variety, Wilson said it was one that she got to direct Sandra Oh in. Oh played Cristina Yang on the series from 2005 until 2014.

“Sandra wanted me to take care of her for that,” Wilson said of the episode, ‘Sliding Doors.’ “She looked at it as her last episode, but we gave her more to finish the season. So that was an honor for me to be in that position.” 

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