One Grey Sloan Memorial doc's shift ended before he even got to put on his scrubs. Majorly devoted fans may recall that ABC cast Joshua Jackson in Grey's Anatomy back in 2007, but, due to the Writers Guild of America strike that year, his new gig never came to fruition. If you're among the Grey's viewers who weren't in the know, or simply forgot this piece of trivia, however, prepare to have your mind doubly blown: Jackson's character was supposed to be the love interest of Sandra Oh's Dr. Cristina Yang, as previously reported by TV Guide.
That's right, the actor who once won hearts as Pacey Witter on The WB's iconic teen drama series Dawson's Creek in the late '90s and early 2000s, was almost Cristina's person. (Well, after Meredith, of course.) While it's unclear whether or not he was supposed to play the role of Dr. Owen Hunt, which is now played by actor Kevin McKidd, the timing certainly would have made sense. After all, TV Guide said Jackson was supposed to come aboard the ABC medical drama in Season 4 — the same season McKidd began playing the trauma surgeon and Cristina's eventual husband. Seriously, how different would the show have been?
And it came super close to actually happening, too. As Jackson explained to online publication Blast Magazine in 2009: “You know, the day we were supposed to start filming was the day the writer’s strike began.”
With said strike lasting a staggering 100 days, by the time a deal was reached, Jackson was no longer available for Grey's, having already committed to playing the lead role of Peter Bishop in Fox's JJ Abrams-created sci-fi series Fringe, per TV Guide.
Still, it all seemed to work out, as Jackson went on to star in Fringe for five seasons before its 2013 series finale. Not to mention — assuming he would've played the role of Owen — he saved himself a painful onscreen divorce with Cristina, as well as the now-impending drama over Owen finding out he's the father of Teddy's baby, following his reconciliation with Amelia.
That's not to say that Jackson's subsequent roles haven't been drama-filled in their own right. Most recently, the Canadian-American actor has been appearing as Cole Lockhart on Showtime's drama The Affair.
Although Cristina is no longer on Grey's, with Sandra Oh leaving the show in 2014, if Jackson should ever decide to scrub in at Grey Sloan Memorial, he may have some free time in the foreseeable future. Citing "a source close to production," Entertainment Weekly reported last month that Jackson may not return to The Affair for its fifth and final season. (Showtime declined EW's request for comment on the news of Jackson’s possible departure.)
He wouldn't be the only star of another popular TV series to join the cast, either. As confirmed by People on Oct. 10, How I Met Your Mother's Josh Radnor will play Meredith's love interest on Grey's this season. The actor, who famously played Ted Mosby on the CBS sitcom from 2005 to 2014, is reportedly going on a blind date with Dr. Grey herself on the upcoming Thursday, Oct. 11 episode of Grey's.
While Jackson's casting is ancient history at this point, the next time you're watching Grey's, just try to not think about what might've been for him and Cristina.