Just hours after I posted my official predictions for the upcoming seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal, dual interviews with series creator Shonda Rhimes were released by both TVGuide and The Hollywood Reporter, in which Rhimes discussed the upcoming ninth season of Grey’s Anatomy and how we could be entering into an entirely new era for the series.
In both sets of interviews, Rhimes covers the same topics, discussing that the ninth season will open much differently than years past, by having the season premiere take place a few months after the plane crash we witnessed in the eighth season finale and seeing everybody settled into their new lives, before thrusting us back into the woods during the season’s second episode where we can see just went down before they were rescued. She also continued on to confirm that Meredith, Cristina, and Derek survive the crash (physical and mental wounds notwithstanding), but whenever the topic of Arizona or her relationship with Callie was brought up, Rhimes was very adamant that she did not want to talk about Arizona, saying that after the season premiere airs, she would be “happy to talk about it, but I don’t want to say anything yet.”
Moving onto other topics, Rhimes revealed that we won’t be seeing a funeral for Lexie Grey, who died in the eighth season finale, nor for any other character that may bite the dust. She reiterated that she is calling season nine “The Season of Romance” for Grey’s Anatomy, detailing that “[we're] playing up the romance of surgery and the romance between characters and the romance of friendships and really mining that as much as we can so it’s not going to be a dark season.” Mark Sloan, who will be leaving during the beginning of the ninth season due to Eric Dane’s departure, will be given a proper farewell, as Rhimes says she was really adamant about giving the character a proper goodbye, and that losing Chyler Leigh was absolutely “heartbreaking,” continuing that “I could have written for Chyler for the rest of my life.”
Perhaps most shocking of all, however, is the revelation that Grey’s Anatomy will no longer be solely set in Seattle and at Seattle Grace, as we follow the doctors around the country to their new homes, as many of the doctors chose new career paths in the eighth season finale. Rhimes hints that this is most likely something that won’t last forever, though she isn’t willing to say how long she is planning for it to last, as she wants to “do it for as long as it feels interesting to us for as long as we have story to tell in the way that we need to tell it.” She also reveals that, after breaking tradition last year by not planning the season-ender out from the very beginning, she and her team of writers already know the ninth season finale will be and will spend the year working towards that.
Other tidbits from the interview include Rhimes basically declaring that Owen and Cristina will end up back together, though the journey could be long and rough; April Kepner will start the season out “back home on the farm,” but will make it back to Seattle at some point; and that we will see Meredith, Derek, and Cristina react to the plane crash in very different ways than we are expecting.
I know I personally find myself very curious to see how the ninth season of Grey’s Anatomy continues to shape up, and I look forward to watching it all play out. And I most definitely want to know what the hell is up with Arizona….
The ninth season of Grey’s Anatomy premieres Thursday, September 27 at 9|8c on ABC.