'Grey's Anatomy' Actor Ellen Pompeo's Comments On Arizona & April's Exits Will Make Fans So Relieved
With just a few episodes left until the Season 14 finale airs on Thursday, May 17, Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo said that April and Arizona's departures won't be as tragic as many may have been anticipating and offered fans reassurance. While it goes without saying that fans shocked to learn that Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew were being written out of the show after Season 14, Pompeo's latest statement provides a great sense of relief for fans who have been bracing themselves for what lies ahead for April and Arizona in their Grey's Anatomy endings.
Reflecting on their last day of filming together, Pompeo opened up about Capshaw and Drew's heartbreaking exits and shared details on just how emotional things were for everyone involved. She told Entertainment Tonight:
"I mean, because everything is the last, right? It's the last time they'll do this, it's the last time they'll do that. It's the last time they'll rehearse and it's really emotional. We're a family and they were both on the show [for] nine and 10 years. Grey's is such an iconic show. Everybody who's ever been on the show is meaningful to the show, right? Everybody's meaningful to the fans."
The women have notably become viewer favorites during their time on Grey's. Both actors started out as recurring characters in their respective introductions, segueing into permanent roles with Capshaw playing the part of Head of Fetal Surgery, Dr. Arizona Robbin on the series for a decade, while Drew has portrayed attending trauma surgeon, Dr. April Kepner, for nine years.
In addition to becoming a major part of the large, twisty narrative of Grey's, as characters, April and Arizona have been credited for helping to bring better a representation of two largely marginalized groups of people to primetime television. It was a factor which made the news of their departures that much harder for fans of the show as many took to Twitter to express their feelings about the exits.
Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes expressed her sentiments about what April and Arizona meant to television audiences. Per Deadline, Rhimes said, in part:
“It’s always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters. Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic — both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV.”
Capshaw and Drew's shocking departures were first revealed in March of this year with Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff announcing their exits in a statement shared with Deadline. It read:
"The characters of Arizona and April are permanently woven into the fabric of Grey’s Anatomy thanks to the extraordinary work of Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew. As writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go, and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with these phenomenally talented actresses.”
The statement initially offered no explicit detail for their abrupt exits. However, Deadline reported that the decision to remove April and Arizona from the show's narrative was based solely on "creative direction."
Pompeo seemed to back that notion amidst her recent comments regarding how the characters would be extracted from the show's storyline. "You only get killed off when your behavior is bad. If you're a nice actor, you die nice," Pompeo explained to ET, comparing Capshaw and Drew's endings to the manner in which former Grey's star Sandra Oh left the show in 2014. "[She] left in the most amazing way. She gave everybody so much notice. She knew 10 seasons was all she wanted to do and they don't get much classier than Sandra Oh. But yeah, these endings aren't tragic," Pompeo concluded.
While saying goodbye to April and Arizona will certainly be hard moment for fans, news that their storylines won't end in tragedy does provide a bit of comfort ahead of the season finale.