Season 15 of Grey’s Anatomy – also known as “the season of love” – ended with a major cliffhanger that saw Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) leave Maggie (Kelly McCreary) behind in their vehicle when they drove up on a multiple-car pileup. Jackson literally walked into a thick fog and never came back, leaving fans to wonder what happened to him.
When the finale aired back in May, Williams had not yet signed on for Season 16 of Grey’s Anatomy, and it looked like the writers might have to kill off his character when the show returned this fall. However, Williams just posted a picture on Instagram from the set of the long-running ABC medical drama, making it clear that Jackson will definitely make it out of the fog.
It turns out that Williams signed a new contract on June 7th, so fans will get the chance to see what happened to Jackson when he walked into the fog, and they will also find out if he will continue his relationship with Maggie.
Showrunner Krista Vernoff said that the Season 15 cliffhanger was a creative decision, and not based on the fact that Williams had yet to renew his contract when they shot the episode.
“It was a creative decision. It was a cliffhanger. I want people to come back [in the fall] and talk all summer and wonder what happens to him,” explained Vernoff. “What I love about act six of our finale is we gave ourselves so much to play with for next season on all the storylines.”
Vernoff said that when they wrapped Season 15 they hadn’t mapped out Jackson’s story, but they started to tackle it when the writers returned to work in June.
When asked if there would be a time jump next season, Vernoff said she had no idea, but it is unlikely because she wants to see the consequences of Meredith’s (Ellen Pompeo) insurance fraud play out. She is also excited to see where the writers go with the story after Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) fired the show’s OGs – Meredith, Alex (Justin Chambers), and Richard (James Pickens, Jr.) from Grey Sloan.
Vernoff says that after 342 episodes, you have to take bold swings to keep things fresh and exciting, and she is looking forward to seeing how it all shakes out.
Season 16 of Grey’s Anatomy premieres Thursday, September 26th on ABC.