By Melissa Maerz
Updated September 04, 2015 at 12:00 PM EDT
Credit: JAMES WHITE for EW

Shonda Rhimes and Ellen Pompeo have a message for all the Grey’s Anatomy fans out there: It’s time to get over McDreamy’s death.

More than 108,000 fans may have signed a petition in the hopes of reviving Patrick Dempsey’s character on the show, but when Rhimes and Pompeo joined Kerry Washington and Viola Davis for a roundtable discussion that makes up the cover story of this week’s EW, it was clear that he’s never coming back. And maybe those fans were totally missing the point. Hadn’t Cristina (Sandra Oh) just told Meredith (Pompeo) that Derek (Dempsey) was not “the sun”? Didn’t that mean that despite the fact that Meredith loved him, her life could continue on without him — and so could the show?

Credit: Kelsey McNeal/ABC

“When Cristina said that, Meredith realized that she had been taking a back seat to allow this man to get what he wanted,” Rhimes told EW. “In an effort not to become her mother, she had tried too hard to become something less. What I loved about season 11 was her saying, That’s not who I am. It was so interesting for me to discover that audiences, especially women, are so conditioned to believe that there’s a singular fairy tale that nobody stops to think that that might not be the definition of happiness. Meredith knew that already. We got to the point in the season when Meredith said, “I can live without you, but I don’t want to,” which for any woman is a very powerful statement. It means: You compliment me, but you don’t complete me.”

Pompeo pointed out that she was personally offended by the idea that Grey’s couldn’t continue without McDreamy. After all, the show was named after Meredith Grey. Wasn’t this supposed to be her story? “Let’s keep it really real for a second and say this is really difficult for my ego,” Pompeo admitted. “It’s okay! We all have one!” She looked around at Davis and Washington, who were sitting right next to her. “It’s like, Annalise Keating carries the show, Olivia Pope carries the show,” she said, referring to the characters Davis and Washington play on How to Get Away With Murder and Scandal. “But somehow, Meredith Grey needs someone. Why can’t I just be the lead of the show the way Annalise and Olivia can? Why can’t I be on that poster by myself?”

To continue reading more about Shondaland and the upcoming seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday, or buy it here.

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Episode Recaps


Grey's Anatomy

Meredith. Alex. Bailey. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.

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  • 17
  • TV-14
  • Shonda Rhimes
  • ABC
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