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Wait, Grey’s Anatomy Alums Sarah Drew And Jesse Williams Already Pitched A ‘Japril’ Spinoff Years Ago?

(Image credit: ABC)

When it comes to Grey’s Anatomy spinoffs, it seems like a question of “when,” not “if,” that universe will be expanded again. It’s already produced a couple of successful sister stories with Private Practice starring Kate Walsh running for six seasons and Station 19 recently being renewed for its own Season 6. Jesse Williams and Sarah Drew seem to be the fan favorites to lead such an endeavor, and that must be an idea that’s floated around the actors’ minds for a while as well, as they revealed recently that they pitched a series starring Jackson Avery and April Kepner back when both characters were still on the show. 

The idea of a spinoff featuring Jackson and April — “Japril” to their fans — has been floating around the fandom at least since Jesse Williams exited the show in Season 17. Even Ellen Pompeo, who plays the eponymous Meredith Grey, said she would watch a series starring the two of them. But it seems Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams themselves might have been the first ones to voice the idea. 

The Season 10 episode “Get Up, Stand Up,” featured a classic (and hilarious) scene in which Jackson declared his love for April in front of all of their family and friends — in the middle of April’s wedding to Matthew. April and Jackson ran away from the ceremony, gleefully hand-in-hand, but when the couple returned to Seattle as husband and wife, they were forced to face the consequences of their impulsive decisions. Fights between the two sullied what should have been their honeymoon phase. Sarah Drew told Insider that she and Jesse Williams worked on an idea to fill in the gaps of their relationship, including what happened after they drove away from April’s wedding: 

We had a whole pitch for an entire series based on that road trip.

While we didn’t get a spinoff series showing what happened in the aftermath of one of the most romantic wedding scenes in Grey’s Anatomy history — even if it did prompt Jesse Williams to call April “the real bad guy” of the story — Williams confirmed that their pitch was turned into the classic Grey’s episode “Unbreak My Heart,” or as it’s come to be known by fans, “Japril the Movie.” 

The Season 12 episode “Unbreak My Heart” told Japril’s love story, from their meeting at Mercy West hospital all the way to their eventual divorce, after which they found out April was pregnant again. Although fans remained hopeful that Jackson and April would reconcile someday, Sarah Drew left the show in Season 14, married to Matthew.

Hope was renewed, however, when Sarah Drew returned for the Season 17 episode, “Look Up Child,” in which Jackson showed up at April’s house and asked her to move to Boston with him, so that he could take over his family’s Catherine Fox Foundation and work to improve medical care for underserved communities. She agreed! And even though they didn’t get back together right then and there, the door was left open — both for their relationship and for the continuation of their story. 

It’s pretty amazing that as popular as the idea is for fan-favorite couple Japril to have their own spinoff, it was the actors themselves who came up with the idea first. Now we’ll just have to wait impatiently to see if we’ll get to see their story continue in Boston.

Grey’s Anatomy airs at 9 p.m. ET Thursdays on ABC. Check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what shows are premiering soon.

Mom of two and hard-core ’90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.

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