Grey’s Anatomy‘s 300th episode was a love letter to fans of the long-running ABC medical drama, paying tribute to familiar locations, lines of dialogue, and faces that came before — some of whom fans almost got to see in the flesh.
During Thursday’s landmark hour, an accident at a county fair brought in a variety of patients who sparked memories from the doctors’ pasts, including original Fab Five look-alikes Cristina (Sandra Oh), George (T.R. Knight), and Izzie (Katherine Heigl). But before the episode came to fruition, there was a chance we’d actually see at least one of those originals return.
“We spent a lot of time in the room talking about which original we could get back and how we could get them back,” executive producer Krista Vernoff tells EW. “Certainly there were requests made and we didn’t end up with any originals visiting, and so this idea [of the doppelgängers] was born. In a strange way, I find it more satisfying, because we got to pay tribute to all the originals instead of making it about the return of just one.”
The hour was otherwise jam-packed with Easter eggs — almost all of which you can find here — that honored the 299 episodes that came before it. In fact, Vernoff says there wasn’t much that landed on the cutting room floor. “What’s amazing is all but two lines of that script made it to air,” she says. “Almost everything that we shot aired. There were things you had to shore up in editing, like you always do. You go, ‘Oh, I undersold that a bit,’ but for the most part, everything I planted and more [made it]. Honestly, when I read your recap of all the Easter eggs, I was like, ‘Oh, look at that, they found some I didn’t intend!'”
So, is there any chance of seeing that trio of look-alikes again? “I would say never say never, but it’s not on the board right now,” Vernoff says. “Maybe I’m going to go bring that idea into the room now that you just said it.”
Grey’s Anatomy‘s fall finale will air Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Stay tuned for more from Krista Vernoff in the coming weeks.