New Shondaland spinoff Station 19 kicked off a new chapter in the TGIT lineup on March 22, introducing fans to Ben Warren's new work family at a firehouse mere blocks away from Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Obviously, the convenient distance between the two locations has to mean that plenty of firefighters will mingle with the doctors of Grey's Anatomy. We already know that husband-and-wife duo Ben and Bailey will occasionally visit each other at work, meaning that we have Chandra Wilson's guest appearances to look forward to on Station 19. But given the fact that there are so many characters on the original show, will Station 19 have more Grey's Anatomy cameos?
Station 19 showrunner Stacy McKee, who has worked on Grey's Anatomy since its beginning, hinted to The Hollywood Reporter that far more crossover appearances between the two shows could be in store. The Station 19 two-part pilot, "Stuck/Invisible To Me," already threw Meredith and Bailey into the mix after the squad had to rush Andy Herrera's unconscious fire chief father to the hospital. While that's about as high-profile of a Grey's Anatomy cameo as possible, McKee says that she's open to any and all characters guest-starring on Station 19, telling THR:
When thinking of what world that might be fun to shine a light on [in a spinoff], we know the first responders, paramedics and firefighters have worked within the Grey's universe in a peripheral way for so long that to shine the light on them now and realize that there's this whole other world that's happening right down the street that we never knew, [Station 19] organically came to be. I'm open to any and all crosspollination of that nature. There are so many of those characters that have popped into the Grey's universe. I've been there for all of them; I was on Grey's for every season. I have all of those on my radar. You never know when you might see them.
So when Grey's Anatomy cuts out Arizona and April at the end of this season, can they come visit Station 19?
While McKee clearly has a soft spot for the world of Grey's Anatomy, she also broke down how she plans to differentiate Station 19 from the classic structure of the medical drama. We definitely don't want an exact copy of Grey's Anatomy's hookups and near-death experiences on Station 19, but with firefighter terms replacing doctors' jargon.
While similar story themes will appear in Station 19, there are also character dynamics that are brand new, as McKee explained:
Because I worked on Grey's... I lived through all of those seasons and transformations of those characters for so long that they're ingrained and a part of me now. It's impossible for me to not have been influenced. There are a lot of common themes and a lot of things that I wanted to showcase: I wanted really aspirational female friendships, women who are strong and capable and there's no question about them being strong and capable; I wanted messy personal relationships but I also wanted people who have a real joy for the work that they do and for their job and a real passion for this incredible thing that they wake up to do every day.
Citing Meredith's mom's struggles with Alzheimer's and never being fully present on Grey's Anatomy, McKee pointed that the interactions between leading lady Andy and her father Pruitt are ongoing:
[Ellis Grey] wasn't able to be a physical presence in the workplace side by side with Meredith. She was more in the shadows and hanging over her. With Andy and her dad, we see him; he's fully interactive and that's a dynamic that we don't get to see on Grey's that I was really excited to have with my main character.
Heroines having complicated relationships with their parents is a recurring theme on Shondaland shows, but from what we saw in the pilot, the bond between Andy and Pruitt seems to be a more functional one. If there's anyone who understands the difficulty of living up to a parent's legacy, it's Meredith, so maybe she has even more Station 19 cameos in the future. Until the show returns next week, I'll be busy making my bracket of which Grey's Anatomy characters could logistically pop up on Station 19.
Station 19 returns on Thursday, March 29, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.