Shonda Rhimes Says She Rewrote the Ending of 'Grey's Anatomy' 'a Good Eight Times'

Shonda Rhimes created Grey's Anatomy for ABC in 2005

Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes has put a lot of thought into how the drama should eventually end.

In an interview for Variety's Show Woman of the Year issue, Rhimes said she had been crafting multiple endings for the hit starring Ellen Pompeo.

"I've written the end of that series, I want to say, a good eight times," said Rhimes, 51. "I was like, 'And that will be the end!' Or, 'That'll be the final thing that's ever said or done!' And all of those things have already happened. So I give up on that, you know what I mean?"

Rhimes brought Grey's Anatomy to ABC in 2005, but she hasn't served as its showrunner since Krista Vernoff took the reigns in 2017. At the time of her exit, she entered into a massive deal with Netflix.

Because of that, Rhimes may not "be the person who decides, like, what the final scene is," she said.

shonda rhimes
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"If you'd ask me this question three years ago, or prior to Krista arriving, I would have said, 'Yes, I can tell you exactly how it's going to end,' " Rhimes said. "But once you hand off the ball for real, it's just different. So I don't know yet."

Rhimes will choose when the popular medical drama concludes, however.

"Am I the person who decides when the show is over? Yes," she added. "And I take full responsibility for that when or if everybody gets mad at me."

Vernoff, 49, has shared similar sentiments on when Grey's Anatomy will wrap, saying she has "something percolating" but isn't quite sure of the ultimate direction.

Grey's Anatomy

"The percolating changes," she recently said on the At Home with the Creative Coalition podcast. "I had some ideas percolating during the first seven seasons — I used to pitch things to Shonda and she'd go, 'That's a season eight idea.'"

Ideas on "where the characters are going to end changes each year," said Vernoff.

"Every year, I never know if I'm writing the last season of the show, literally. I percolate new ideas every year," she added. "If we ended it this year, what would it be?"

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Pompeo, 51, told Entertainment Tonight in September that there would be a reason to continue the show past season 18 "creatively, as long as there's something to do."

"Miraculously, we keep coming up with ways to have a reason to stay," she continued. "And if there's a reason, that warrants it."

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.

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