The star and producer says when it comes time to say goodbye, 'there's a lot of pressure on that final episode.'
Ellen Pompeo is already planning for the inevitable end.
The Grey's Anatomy star and executive producer is signed on through season 17 of ABC's long-running medical drama, but could it be her final season? While Pompeo remained coy about her future past next season during an appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden on Thursday, she did reveal one wish she had when it does comes time to say goodbye to Meredith Grey for good.
"I mean, I’d love to have some of the old cast come back, the original cast is just like [puts hand over her heart]," Pompeo told James Corden, likely referencing OG cast members like Sandra Oh, T.R. Knight, Patrick Dempsey and Katherine Heigl, though never using their names. "But that probably won’t happen, but that would be the most amazing way to [end it]."
When Corden asked why she didn't think that would be possible, she quipped, "Some of them were killed on the show!"
Pompeo isn't wrong. The revolving door on Grey's has been just that, ever-revolving, and a good number of the characters who have since departed are no longer living and breathing in the show's fictional universe -- from George O'Malley (Knight) and Derek Shepherd (Dempsey) to Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) and Mark Sloan (Eric Dane).
Even so, Pompeo understands that whenever the Grey's series finale does come, longtime fans will have high expectations.
"The ending, the final episode, matters so much. Are you kidding me?" she said. "And the fans are never going to be happy, no matter what -- Sopranos, Game of Thrones. They're pissed no matter what you do. So, there's a lot of pressure on that final episode."
The 49-year-old actress also shared surprising celebrity fans of Grey's, revealing NBA players like Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul are massive watchers of the soapy drama. "The wives make them watch or whatever, but they're convenient fans to have because we like going to games," she said with a laugh.
Watch Pompeo's interview below.
Following Thursday's season 16 premiere, Grey's showrunner Krista Vernoff spoke with ET about Meredith's journey in the aftermath of committing insurance fraud, getting fired at Grey Sloan and now having her medical license possibly revoked.
"For the first third of our season, Meredith is dealing with the fallout of the decision she made at the end of last season. She got several hundred hours of community service. She didn't get a cushy clinic gig, she got picking up trash on the side of the road, and now the medical board is coming after her license," Vernoff said. "So, this definitely gets more complicated for Meredith -- who is not a rule follower -- before it gets any better."
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