‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17: Chyler Leigh’s Comments About Lexie Grey’s Return Will Make You Laugh and Cry

Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 gave fans exactly what they needed when Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) and Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) reunited with Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). The emotional episode gave hope to many viewers and some closure to the deceased characters. Then in a recent interview, Leigh shared how she really felt about Lexie’s cameo, and the actor truly highlighted how special the big comeback was in Grey’s Anatomy Season 17.

How did Lexie Grey die on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?

Chyler Leigh as Lexie Grey looking to the side at the hospital in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 7
Chyler Leigh as Lexie Grey in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Randy Holmes/Walt Disney Television via Getty Image

RELATED: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: How Did Andrew DeLuca Die?

Lexie died in the Grey’s Anatomy Season 8 finale — also known as the infamous plane crash episode. The beloved character was on the way to Boise, alongside Mark, Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw), Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), and her sister, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). 

When the aircraft crashed, Lexie was crushed under a piece of the plane. She was found by Cristina and Mark. But in the end, the surgeons couldn’t save Little Grey. Lexie died as Mark held her hand and told her that they were “mean to be.” 

Eventually, Meredith, Derek, Arizona, Cristina, and Mark made it back to Seattle. But soon enough, Mark followed Lexie and succumbed to his injuries. Meanwhile, Grey’s Anatomy Season 9 filled in a few more blanks that probably haunt many fans today.

In the second episode of the season, Cristina told Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) what she could remember. Then she suggested that Lexie was eaten by animals in the woods.

“The animal noises, fighting and growling right next to us, right there. I kept waiting for them to come and kill me,” Cristina said. “And then I realized they were fighting over Lexie. I tried to keep them off of her, I tried. But I couldn’t get out. I can’t get out.”

Lexie Grey reunited with Meredith Grey and Mark Sloan in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17

RELATED: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Why Eric Dane Doesn’t Regret Leaving the Cast and Mark Sloan Behind

While Lexie’s death was truly horrific, her return in Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 was uplifting and filled with joy. In episode 10, titled “Breathe,” Lexie and Mark reunited with Meredith on her COVID-19 dream beach and reminded her how important it was to keep fighting for her life. The two deceased characters also suggested that they ended up together.

Meanwhile, Dane revealed the Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 team used a green screen to bring the Meredith-Lexie-Mark scenes to life.

“Chyler was in Vancouver. So we had to work some magic,” Dane told The Hollywood Reporter. “Chyler could get here but then she couldn’t get back to Canada. There was some green screen. There was a lot of me and Ellen.”

Chyler Leigh opens up about Lexie Grey’s return in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17

RELATED: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17: Meredith and Derek Predicted That Wedding Scene Back in Season 5

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight from May 2021, Leigh said it was “interesting” to film the Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 scenes without Dane and Pompeo. The actor revealed that she sat on an apple box, and tennis balls served as her co-stars.

That said, Leigh understood the impact of Lexie’s reunion with Mark and Meredith. The Supergirl star said:

There are dynamics between Lexie and Meredith, and then Lexie and Mark. It was really special to be able to be part of it and especially telling such a powerful story. The tribute of this season is really towards first responders and their experience during the whole pandemic, so to be part of that was obviously very special.

The former Grey’s Anatomy cast member also shared that it was a “special experience” to finish Lexie’s story in season 17, especially when you remember Cristina’s remarks in season 9. 

“To be able to close the chapter for Lexie, and to appear in a way where she’s not eaten by wolves. Kind of bring a little life back to it… It was a special experience to be able to be part of that,” Leigh said.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 airs Thursday nights on ABC.