"It's a war zone and we're the ones on the front line. With all the lives in need, our world is ablaze," the trailer says

By Christina Dugan
October 02, 2020 05:48 PM

Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 are coming back — and it's going to be a bit of a "war zone" when they return.

In a PEOPLE exclusive trailer for the highly anticipated two-hour crossover premiere, the series' two heroines — Station 19's Andy Herrera (Jaina Lee Ortiz) and Grey’s Anatomy's Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) — take turns narrating about what's to come in the upcoming seasons.

"It's a war zone and we're the ones on the front line. With all the lives in need, our world is ablaze. What we're up against now is unlike anything that came before. At times it seems like there's no end in sight. We won't stop fighting. We won't stop feeling. Because sometimes, we all need saving," Pompeo and Ortiz say in the trailer.

The video, courtesy of ABC, features clips of both new and old footage.

Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy
| Credit: Justin Stephens/ABC; Mike Rosenthal/ABC

On Sept. 3, Ortiz posted an Instagram photo of herself in character, which she captioned: "The same but different. Sandpaper hands coming to you soon..."

Days later, Pompeo shared a behind-the-scenes snap from the set of Grey’s Anatomy, which began filming its seventeenth season in September amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The ABC drama was previously forced to shut down with four episodes left to shoot in season 16.

"First time back in my scrubs," Pompeo began the caption to her Instagram post. "Since we shut down filming 7,000 healthcare workers have died from Covid."

In a new interview with Variety, Krista Vernoff — showrunner and executive producer for both Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy — revealed that during the first writers’ room meeting in June, she didn't necessarily want to make the subject of COVID-19 part of the show at first.

“I think that people have fatigue of COVID, and I think they turn to our show for relief,” she recalled saying during the Zoom meeting.

Some were quick to disagree, though. “I think it’s the biggest medical story of our lifetimes,” Vernoff remembered co-executive producer Lynne E. Litt saying, noting that a real-life doctor on staff — who worked on the coronavirus frontlines while Grey’s Anatomy was on hiatus — said they had a responsibility “to tell this story.”

Vernoff added that the season 17 premiere crossover event will take place weeks into the pandemic. The episode will also include pre-pandemic flashbacks, which will incorporate footage from the episode they were in the process of shooting when the show went on hiatus in March.

She explained that in keeping with reality, the season will not feature crowded emergency and operating rooms. They're also using different camera lenses to make it seem like the actors are standing closer together than they actually are, and are writing less scenes per script, due to the new pace of shooting.

"Everything is changing,” she told the outlet. “And I’m proud of what we’re doing.”

The two-hour crossover event premieres Nov. 12, with Station 19 airing at 8 p.m. ET and Grey's Anatomy airing at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.