April's Exit On 'Grey's Anatomy' Will Have A Major Effect On Owen, According To Actor Kevin McKidd
If there's one thing Grey's Anatomy viewers have had to learn to contend with over the course of 14 seasons, it's grappling with the trauma of saying goodbye to some truly beloved characters. Most recently, some of us may or may not have even needed resuscitating equipment when we learned of the impending exit of Grey's Anatomy fave Dr. April Kepner (played by Sarah Drew) from the ABC medical drama. While we know that nothing could be the same without April, Kevin McKidd (AKA Dr. Owen Hunt) confirmed that Grey's Anatomy will be a very different show next season, while discussing his costar in a recent interview with TheWrap, posted on Thursday, May 10.
“I think Owen Hunt is going to struggle," the actor, who first joined the series as a recurring character in 2008, said ahead of the May 17 Season 14 finale. "I think he doesn’t realize how good he has had his life these last few years.”
From being shot during a hospital shooting to losing his wife and an unborn child, we're not so sure "good" is the word we'd use. But that could also be foreshadowing amped up drama ahead for the former Army trauma surgeon, in the absence of his right-hand gal at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
“You know, he’s had all these tumultuous relationship problems and stuff, partly probably because he’s only had to do half the work because April Kepner’s been there helping him run the ER,” he added to TheWrap. “Now, Owen is going to have to run the ER pretty much full time. So hopefully he’s gonna have less personal life drama, because he’s going to be so busy at work.”
Off-screen, McKidd will have an equally difficult time saying farewell to "very close" friend Drew, who will next appear in a CBS' reboot of Cagney & Lacey. “[I] spent so much time with Sarah, because we worked in the same field. I’m just gonna miss her,” he said.
In fact, Drew had been shadowing McKidd, who's directed 20 Grey's episodes, this season to potentially go behind the camera herself in the future. "I love my ginger brother and am learning SO much from him about directing on this episode!" the actress captioned a March 8 Instagram shot.
Prior to receiving the news she wouldn't be returning for Season 15, she did actually get a chance to direct McKidd in the online spinoff Grey's Anatomy: B-Team this year. "@therealkmckidd was so supportive of my directing journey and jumped at the opportunity to be in one of these episodes!!" Drew captioned another photo in January. "Love you so much." Ironically, McKidd's own directorial debut was on another web spinoff, Seattle Grace: Message of Hope, back in Season 7.
The experience of working with her buddy even helped Drew deal with the emotions of finding out her character, along with Jessica Capshaw's Dr. Arizona Robbins, would be discharged from the ABC hit at the end of the current season 48 hours before the public did, tweeting she was "thankful" that she could "process all of my feelings surrounded by the community that has nourished and nurtured me for almost a decade."
While it is still unclear exactly how her storyline will wrap up, the ominous promo at the end of last week's episode made it seem like her ending won't be a happy one. In the clip, viewers see April in surgery, presumably after a car accident, with Ellen Pompeo's Meredith Grey yelling, "We're not losing her!" Moments later, Dr. Grey is in tears — and fans are sure to be as well.
Like McKidd, we know the absences of April and Arizona will send shockwaves through Grey Sloan Memorial that will be felt well into next season when Grey's returns this fall. But just how much is the show going to change direction? Fans will have to try not to flat-line as we wait to see.