Ellen Pompeo's Occasional 'Grey's Anatomy' Returns Will Be a 'Surprise,' Jason George Says (Exclusive)

'Station 19' star Jason George talks to ET about the future of ABC's long-running medical drama following Pompeo's goodbye episode.

Ellen Pompeo's Meredith Grey said goodbye to Seattle on last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy, as she stepped on a plane to begin her new chapter in Boston. Though Meredith's departure marked the end of an era on ABC's long-running show, she'll continue to narrate the series as well as continue serving as an executive producer.

ET spoke with Station 19 star and Screen Actors Guild Awards committee member Jason George at the Screen Actors Guild Awards preview at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles on Thursday, where he assured fans that Pompeo's presence will still be felt on Grey's.

"She's a producer on the show; she’s a producer on both shows. She’s not leaving the world but she will not be around as much as we're used to having her. So that's going to be a big change," the actor, who was introduced as Ben Warren on Grey's Anatomy before transitioning to the firefighter spinoff, told ET. 

He then reflected on being part of the storyline that helped send Pompeo's character off, reminiscing about the dramatic midseason finale from November that saw Meredith's house catch on fire and the Station 19 crew reporting to the devastating scene. "Being a part of that episode for us and for us to be there, it was weird watching their house on fire," he acknowledged. "Ellen running up. I got to run out and meet her at the car and run her into her house on fire."

When asked how it was to send off Pompeo and her beloved character after nearly two decades, George observed any kind of dramatic change would garner deep emotions. 

"We're in season 19, so if you've done anything in your life for 10 years, let alone 19 years, it's going to be emotional when you stop doing it. When you're not there every day," he said, emphasizing that Pompeo's voice will be heard through narration in the remaining episodes. "We'll still hear Meredith's voice in every episode in the voiceovers and I believe she's going to come back sometimes. You won't know when, so you always gotta watch and find out if she makes a surprise appearance."

"But it's one of those things where it's a genuine chapter changing and that's not something that happens every day -- different changes to the show, so many new faces at the same time. This entire season has been that," George noted. "Even if you hadn't watched the show for a few years, I have friends who say, 'I dip in and dip out, but I've been glued this entire season because of the new faces and also, how’s the exit going to happen?' I think the fans will really enjoy [it]."

Even with Pompeo no longer at the helm of Grey's, George is grateful to be a key part of the Grey's and Station 19 universe.

"Look, I'm just excited because... I'm part of the universe. I've been going back and forth between Station 19 and Grey's, and Ellen Pompeo, Grey's there's a whole lot of changes happening in the world and that all gets set up on Station 19," he said. "I'm excited to have it back and talk about some of the things that we've known for months."

Last night's episode was Pompeo's final appearance as a series regular on Grey's and the 53-year-old clarified that "for the record, it's not really my final" episode.

"It's a little bit of a trick they're playing on people," Pompeo told ET earlier this month, before adding, "It is my final episode for a while."

Back in September, Pompeo opened up to ET about her decision to step away from Grey's.

"It's still Grey's, she's still there in spirit and that's the house that Grey built, so she's always there," she said at the time. "She just has to step away for a little bit to do a Hulu show. It's a great company to work for and I'm really, really lucky that they've given me the opportunity to do both, and so I had to take it."


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