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Grey’s Anatomy fans were hit with a wave of emotions when the season 16 finale wrapped. Many characters ended with incomplete storylines. The season was cut short because production shut down amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Nevertheless, ABC already renewed the Shondaland drama for another season. So fans knew the arcs would continue into the next cycle. But recently, Giacomo Gianniotti (Andrew DeLuca) revealed the Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 premiere will start with a time jump, and we won’t pick up where we left off.

What happened in the ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 16 finale?

A lot happened in the Grey’s Anatomy Season 16 finale. For one, Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.) almost died of cobalt poisoning, which came from an old hip replacement. The diagnosis was caught by Andrew, who had been struggling with his mental health. Then at the end of the episode, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) found Andrew in the middle of a breakdown and she took him home.

Before Meredith ran into Andrew, she accepted an invitation to have drinks with Cormac Hayes (Richard Flood) at a later date. Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) also had her baby. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) supported her friend in Atticus “Link” Lincoln’s (Chris Carmack) absence, as he performed surgery on Richard. The baby boy’s name has yet to be revealed.

Meanwhile, Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) finally found out about Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) and Tom Koracick’s (Greg Germann) affair. The two hooked up right before Owen and Teddy’s wedding, and they accidentally left the trauma surgeon a streamy voicemail. Then Owen didn’t show up to the wedding, claiming he had a last-minute surgery. But he didn’t tell Teddy. 

Giacomo Gianniotti reveals where the ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17 premiere will start

Giacomo Gianniotti as Andrew DeLuca and Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey on 'Grey's Anatomy' Season 16
Giacomo Gianniotti as Andrew DeLuca and Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images

Grey’s Anatomy Season 16 was cut short by four episodes. So the show was supposed to pick up where it left off in the next episode. But in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Krista Vernoff hinted change was likely for the Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 premiere. 

“We’re waiting to see what happens with the world,” Vernoff said in April 2020. “I will start a season 17 writers room in May. And at that point, I imagine our conversation will be about starting our story from where we left off in season 16. But I don’t think we can take unproduced scripts that we didn’t shoot and shoot them. We’re going to have had a break and have new ideas.”

She added, “We’ve been texting each other ideas already. Some of those things that we had decided, we’re changing because we’ll have had a break and have come up with better ideas. And some of it is going to have to change because you’re taking what was going to be a regular episode and have to turn it into a season premiere and that will require some reimagining.”

Then in a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Gianniotti confirmed the Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 premiere will not start right after the events in the season 16 finale. And according to the actor, the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial will already be in the middle of the pandemic.

“We’re going to start the season about a month and a half [into] full COVID,” Gianniotti said. “So it’s going to take place a little beyond where we left off in the last season.”

But does this mean fans won’t get to see the immediate aftermath of Andrew’s breakdown or the Teddy, Owen, and Tom love triangle? Not necessarily.

“We might have some flashbacks. We might have some things where we’re referencing last season, just to have context leading up,” Gianniotti said. “But we are going to have a little leap when we start this season in terms of time. We’re not picking up right where we left off.”

When will ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17 be released?

For now, Grey’s Anatomy fans will just have to wait for ABC to announce the official release date for season 17. The Shondaland series typically airs in the fall. But in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s TV’s Top 5 podcast, Vernoff revealed they have a tentative start date for production. Though filming could still be pushed back.

“I think we’re very close to figuring it out,” Vernoff said. “There have been tentative start dates. There have been other tentative start dates and it has been pushed.”

She continued, “Safety is our number one concern. In the beginning, it felt a little like the blind leading the blind. Now, it feels like we’ve got more of the right elements in place, the right people to run a COVID department, to create safety.”


‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17: Kevin McKidd Teases Owen Hunt’s Storyline and It Sounds Messy

Meanwhile, Gianniotti told Entertainment Tonight the Grey’s Anatomy team hopes to pick up filming in September. But like Vernoff, the actor is hopeful everyone can return to work soon.

“Our producers are all rapidly trying to implement all of these protocols to keep everybody safe,” Gianniotti said. “We’re obviously going to be tested multiple times a week and sort of separated in zones. We’re going to have a lot less personnel on set, we’re going to be wearing full PPE [personal protective equipment]. It’s a new world.”

He later added, “But I’m really hoping that we can figure it out and keep producing this amazing show that so many fans love to watch.”

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