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Grey's Anatomy Star and EP 'Fought Really Hard' to Cast [Spoiler] in Alex's Nostalgia-Heavy Farewell Episode

Grey's Anatomy Alex and Izzie

Grey’s Anatomy‘s polarizing Alex-Izzie ‘reunion’ episode changed dramatically from script to screen — and the show’s top EP is divulging details about the 11th hour tweak.

As showrunner Krista Vernoff reveals to TVLine, Elizabeth Finch’s original and “beautifully written” script for the pivotal Season 16 episode that served as Justin Chambers’ swan song referenced Alex and Izzie’s twins Eli and Alexis, but viewers were not supposed to actually meet the children. Grey’s co-star and EP Debbie Allen, who directed the March 5 hour, “fought really hard to cast and shoot the kids,” says Vernoff. “None of that was in the original script. And that was my favorite material in the episode — the visuals of those two kids.” (Watch video of Eli and Alexis frolicking in the flesh on Izzie’s farm in the video below.)

Vernoff adds that “Leave a Light On” was a “labor of love” for the entire cast and crew, particularly longtime editor Vanessa Delgado, who was tasked with “putting together 16 seasons worth of clips” for the flashback-heavy episode, which gave closure to not only Alex’s storyline but Izzie’s as well.

“The Izzie story and those eggs was just hanging out there” since Katherine Heigl’s abrupt 2010 exit, Vernoff notes. “I thought it was amazing that we could finally let people know that Izzie was alive and well and raising [Alex’s] kids.”