The woman behind Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice recently gave E! tons of gossip, rumors and spoilers for the upcoming fifth season.
Let's dispense with the intro and get right to it. Check out what Shonda Rhimes had to say, then sound off with comments and reactions:
Q: Where is the story taking us next season?
Shonda Rhimes: I think a lot of the focus is going to be on the five core interns we've gotten to know — who aren't interns anymore — George (T.R. Knight), Izzie (Katherine Heigl), Cristina (Sandra Oh), Alex (Justin Chambers) and Meredith (Ellen Pompeo). I really want to focus on them as they deal with the next step in their training. We're also going to spend a lot of time with Mark (Eric Dane), Derek (Patrick Dempsey), Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Erica (Brooke Smith) and see their interactions.
Q: On to MerDer, are you tired of talking about them?
Shonda Rhimes: I was until I got them together. Now it's a whole new world. There's a whole host of problems that come with Meredith and Derek being together, and a whole host of other storylines, drama and excitement. So I'm really excited about them being together, because I feel like what I wanted you to leave with last season is Meredith standing in that field, having done this incredible thing, and the look on her face is a little bit like, "Oh my God, now I actually have to do this." That's important.
Q: Is it more fun for you to write them together?
Shonda Rhimes: Absolutely. It was a real challenge to figure out how to get them together...how to get Meredith to the place where she was healthy enough to make this step with Derek. Now that she's made the step with Derek, it's really exciting to see what's going to come next and how she's going to deal with living with a boy, and all the things a man like Derek, who has been married and is a grown-up, might expect.
Q: MerDer is living together? Are they living in Derek's trailer or in Meredith's house?
Shonda Rhimes: That you'll have to watch and see.
Q: Is Rose going to be a thorn in MerDer's side?
Shonda Rhimes: I don't necessarily think that she's a troublemaker for their relationship in the beginning.
Q: Callie and Erica are going to be a couple next season, are they going to come out to the masses?
Shonda Rhimes: Eventually that's going to play out. I feel like the important thing is that at the end of the season, Callie kissed a girl. We're going to watch that part of it play out: Did she mean to kiss a girl? What does it mean that she's kissed a girl? Is she excited about it? What does it mean for Erica? We don't really know Erica's side of the story yet in terms of what's going on with the two of them. Then we're going to watch the larger world of what happens when the two of them come out of the hospital, and what happens when Callie's dad (Hector Elizondo) finds out. I think it's going to be really interesting because I think it's very different to go from being 19 and declare this, and be a grown woman and declare this, when your family's already thought something else.
Q: Will this season be a journey for them to discover their sexuality?
Shonda Rhimes: They are definitely on a journey, and it's going to be a really interesting one. It's funny, the writers are really excited about it, and we spend a lot of hours talking about how we're going to do it, and what we're going to do, and what might the problems be, and the emotional aspects of it, and the fun that we can have with it.
Q: It seems like they have great onscreen chemistry. Was that a driving force in getting them together?
Shonda Rhimes: There is chemistry there, but also both actresses are so game; they're so willing to do something. Sara is such a fabulously comedic actress and has so much to give, and post-George I felt like she was searching for something. Callie and Erica seem to have a lot of chemistry. We did start them out as being friends and it felt like there was something more there; the same kind of chemistry that I saw between Cristina and Burke (Isaiah Washington) before Christina and Burke got together.
Q: We last saw Alex and Izzie getting hot and steamy, in a depressing sort of way. What's next for them?
Shonda Rhimes: I think you're going to see a lot of really interesting sparks between the two of them.
Q: Is there any truth to that Grey's Anatomy gossip about Izzie having a brain tumor?
Shonda Rhimes: No.
Q: Kevin McKidd has a built-in McName. What's he going to be doing on the show?
Shonda Rhimes: He's going to be playing Owen Hunt, who is a military doctor that comes to the hospital on leave.
Q: He just happens to show up to a hospital where everyone falls for each other? Hmmm...Who is he going for?
Shonda Rhimes: I think Cristina might find him fairly interesting.