ABC/Richard Cartwright
Natalie Abrams
March 22, 2017 AT 05:13 PM EDT

The moment Grey’s Anatomy fans have been waiting for may soon be on the horizon: meeting Jo’s estranged husband.

As revealed at the close of season 12, Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington) could not marry Alex (Justin Chambers) because she was already wed to an abusive man, whom she ran away from, changing her name in the process. Though Jo has been hiding from him this whole time, if she ever truly wants to be rid of him, she’ll need a divorce (or annulment!), meaning there’s a good chance he could soon come into the picture.

“There is a chance, a big chance,” executive producer Debbie Allen tells EW. “It’s the elephant in the room, the one piece that we have not been able to fit into the puzzle of why they have not been able to get married, what she’s been holding back and what she’s been dealing with. It gives us great story.” In fact, it’s potentially such a rich story line that Allen adds, “It can go all the way into next season, I can tell you that.”

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The question remains whether Jo is actually ready to face her ex, or if Alex may put her in that position himself — after all, if he does want to properly propose, he could try to track down the man himself. “Possibly yes,” Chambers says. “Or maybe the guy comes back. He’s still out there. I don’t know yet. They’re still married, Alex is still in love with Jo, he wants to marry her, so that’s going to have to come to rest, that whole situation.”

After he nearly ended up in prison for beating up DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti), would Alex take the high road with Jo’s ex, even though this man abused the woman he loves? “I would think he would be a little more cautious, but Alex always does things unpredictably, so we’ll see what happens,” Chambers says.

In the meantime, DeLuca will finally come to terms with his feelings for Jo, which should stir up new drama in the wake of last year’s finale. “The whole season has been teasing at that,” Gianniotti says. “He has tiptoed around how he feels about her, but he hasn’t directly said it. By the end of the season, we’re going to see him confront her and his feelings. I don’t know how it’s going to go for him. Nice guys often finish last, so we’ll see.”

This time around, however, it doesn’t look like things will get physical between Alex and DeLuca in the aftermath. “I don’t think he’s going to beat him up again,” Chambers says. “I think DeLuca is just going through a little spell, he just has a crush on her. There’s plenty of fish in the sea. Jo still loves Alex, so I think that’s where it’s at.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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