5 ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17 Theories, Including One Huge Character Death

- Grey's Anatomy -
5 ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17 Theories, Including One Huge Character Death

It's been six months since Grey's Anatomy Season 16 came to a COVID-19 abbreviated end in April, and that's given fans a long time to contemplate what might happen to the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial next. From predicting a beloved character's death to the possibility of a tragic This Is Us style flashforward, I've combed through Grey's Anatomy fans' Season 17 theories and surprisingly not one of them is about COVID-19.

In July, Grey's showrunner Krista Vernoff told Entertainment Weekly that the show would indeed tackle COVID-19 and how it has affected frontline workers. "I feel like our show has an opportunity and a responsibility to tell some of those stories," she said at the time. So while that storyline is a given (hospital + pandemic = makes sense), we're focusing on theories that are way more dark and twisted than what you may expect from a season filming during a world crisis.

But it's not all grim news this season: Some fans are predicting a potential new couple on the horizon and hope for some much deserved vindication for DeLuca. Check out these five Grey's Anatomy Season 17 fan theories, STAT.

Jackson Is Definitely Going To Die

Credit: John Fleenor/ABC

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, four episodes of Grey's Anatomy Season 16 were left on the cutting room floor, which turned out to be good news for an unnamed doomed character. In April 2020, TVLine reported that a major character was set to die in the original season finale, but they were given a second chance at life when production was halted.

Showrunner Krista Vernoff hasn't commented on which fan favorite character was set to sign off for good, but fans on Reddit are convinced Jackson was the one on the chopping block, and they don't think he's out of the woods yet.

Reddit user tvobsessed23 wrote, "I read somewhere that people who also watch Station 19 will see hints in Episodes 15 and 16 of the character they were planning to kill on Grey’s. Since Jackson is the most recurrent character there, I assume it’s him, though that’s surprising since Jesse Williams has signed on for Season 17."

Interestingly, Jackson was shot in the leg during the Station 19 Season 3 finale. The wound wasn't life-threatening, but it was enough to leave viewers on edge about his fate. Adding to the Jackson-is-marked-for-death theory: actor Jesse Williams was set to make his Broadway debut in Take Me Out last spring before COVID-19 hit, potentially making him unavailable for filming.

While Vernoff previously revealed that the final four episodes of Season 16 have been completely scrapped at this point, that doesn't mean the character in question is safe. And given the drama that Jackson's death would create for characters like Catherine and Richard, fans suspect he'll be dramatically killed off when viewers least expect it.

Jo & DeLuca Will Be Grey Sloan Memorial's Next "It" Couple

Credit: Gilles Mingasson/ABC

No one had a tougher Season 16 than Jo and DeLuca. Poor Jo was blindsided when Alex left her to be with Izzie and their plot-convenient twins, while DeLuca struggled with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. So naturally, there's a fan theory that the two are destined to bond over dealing with mental illness and heartbreak.

One Reddit user, realityneil, suggested that Grey's has already revealed that there's major chemistry between these two surgeons. They wrote, "I feel like in Season 17, DeLuca and Jo might be together. They both [live with] mental illnesses so that could be a common ground plus in Season 13, I felt some sort of chemistry with them together when they were being friends and talking about the trial and the whole Alex situation."

In Season 16, Jo gave DeLuca some tough love while he was trying to avoid dealing with his manic state, and the two have shared a few touching moments in the past. While some fans are holding out hope for Meredith and DeLuca to work things out, Jo and DeLuca have the potential to become the show's next "it" couple if Vernoff decides to explore their connection.

A Flashforward Will Reveal Meredith Has Alzheimer's Disease

Credit: Bonnie Osborne/ABC

Since Grey's Anatomy began nearly two decades ago, Meredith Grey has been through a lot: she's lost her husband, her mom, her dad, and had not one, but two of her "people" move away. But before the series end, Mer might be in for another heartache — an Alzheimer's diagnosis, just like the one her mom received.

In a thread about what viewers want to see in Season 17, Reddit user howdoiusethisthang suggested a flashforward reveal of Meredith's kids learning about her life from her journals. "Maybe we will see an older Zola, Bailey, and Ellis in the last episode hearing this recap of their mom’s life," they wrote. "Or maybe Meredith wrote it down in a bunch of journals like her mother did."

The "Meredith will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease" theory has been around since her mom's diagnosis was first revealed, and in Season 9, she tested positive for several of the genetic markers for the disease. As the show gets closer to its inevitable end, the idea that Meredith will be forced to face her mortality is picking up steam.

DeLuca Will Be Proven Right About The Human Trafficking Victim

Credit: Jessica Brooks/ABC

Last season, DeLuca believed that a young woman who was admitted to the hospital was a victim of human trafficking, and he begged his colleagues to help keep her safe. Unfortunately, since the doctor was in the midst of a manic episode, no one believed him when he said the girl's "aunt" was actually part of a human trafficking ring. When he asked the other hospital employees to form a ring of protection around the girl, as protocol states, they circled him instead, leading to the girl being taken away from the hospital without receiving help.

It was a frustrating moment for DeLuca and viewers as it illustrated how often people with mental illness have their concerns dismissed. For her part, Vernoff revealed on Twitter that she had planned for the girl to return to the hospital in the final run of episodes, proving that DeLuca was right. "That story was coming around in what would have been the next episode. Hopefully we can complete her story in Season 17!" Vernoff tweeted to a fan in early April.

Redditor PrivateSpeaker theorizes the storyline may be resolved in the upcoming Season. They say: "Us watching them leave does two things: makes us feel uneasy because that girl would probably be sold for sex slavery, and it takes away from DeLuca's diagnosis. He was right and while he was overreacting, he was right and no one listened. So we as an audience are more concerned with the human traffickers now than DeLuca's manic episode or whatever it was."

The consensus is this story needs to be resolved, and DeLuca deserves a major apology from his coworkers.

McWidow Is Going To Be Meredith's New Person

Credit: John Fleenor/ABC

Sorry, Mer and DeLuca shippers, but McWidow and Meredith feel like they have endgame potential, according to fans on Reddit. For Redditor badwolf0294, McWidow's Cristina Yang seal of approval is basically a guarantee that the hot doctor will be Mer's new person. "Not only was he sent by Christina, with her stamp of approval, but him and Meredith have this chemistry that she hasn't had with anyone since Derek," they wrote. "I think she was wonderful with Nathan but there's clearly something more there with McWidow."

Another fan, PrivateSpeaker, added that the writers clearly didn't make Dr. Cormac Hayes a widow by accident. Clearly, they want these two characters to be on an even playing field, emotionally speaking. And it's only a matter of time before their banter leads to bonding and perhaps, something more as they continue to work side by side at Grey Sloan Memorial.

Even after 17 seasons, Grey's Anatomy is still finding new ways to shock viewers, so I'm sure there are plenty of twists no one will see coming. But don't be surprised if at least a couple of these fan theories turn out to be true. (Seriously, Jackson, but you may be a walking Code Blue.)

Image: ABC/Ali Goldstein

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