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Grey's Anatomy Spoiler: Major Death to Come

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Having offered up many Grey's Anatomy season finale spoilers already, Shonda Rhimes has now confirmed the biggest yet: Someone will die in the upcoming eighth season finale. A "beloved character" no less.

But who?

"A lot of our writers were crying, which is a very rare thing," she tells TV Guide of the May 17 event. "There's some really shocking, horrible moments." How bad are we talking about? Worse than the mass shooting?

"Yeah, it is," Rhimes promises. "People's mettle is going to be tested."

Writing the eighth season finale, titled "Flight," was sheer "torture... I've been sitting with my head in my hands for days. I understand the choice I made, but it scares me how the fans are going to react."

A Mer, Der Pic

Rhimes recently quoted Kurt Vonnegut, Tweeting, "Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them - in order that the reader may see what they are made of."

That quote, Shonda says, gave her "the courage to do what we're doing in the finale."

The drama begins in the May 10 episode, "Migration," with "a case that takes a group of our people out of the hospital" for "the medical case of their lives," says Rhimes, hinting that the patient could be one of their own.

And there's this: May 10 will also feature Derek and Meredith's dream house. Rhimes originally planned for the season to end with the couple watching it burn to the ground, but "I was not ready to do that."

Instead, the dream house is being constructed and is "quite beautiful. I feel like this is the moment for it, since Meredith and Derek are having a debate about their future. I just hope we can use it next season."

Rhimes' hopes the cast's contract status will remain secret heading into the finale, where "The lives of our people should be a concern ... A lot of choices are made in this episode that change people's futures forever."

Still, after killing off George in 2009, she says "there are certain characters on this show that you can't kill. It wouldn't be acceptable not only to the audience, but to me and my vision of what this show is. They can't die."

Someone will die, however. Who do you think it is? Sound off with your predictions for the season finale, the future of the show after this season and all things Grey's Anatomy below!

UPDATE, 5/2: We now know a handful of doctors who are safe ...

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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I think it will be Derek or Lexi. Lexi was stuck under the plane and Derek was sucked out. Shonda Rhimes said in an interview that there are some characters she just can't kill off so that makes me think it will be Lexi b/c if it is Derek there goes the show...he is part of the core and his death will destroy the show. who knows I guess we will wait and see!

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I think it's Lexie, and that is killing me. By far the most consistently lovable, beautiful person on the show, inside and out. I hate this....

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Isn't Webber supposed to be flying to a conference in Florida to speak soon? Could that be related?

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I am hoping that it wont be any of the major characters. Maybe the chief's wife finally succumbs to Alzheimer's? I guess I'm hoping it isn't Lexie. I know it's a tv show but it is so 'final'. For instance, it sucks that George can never show up on the show again...it would have been nice to have that possibility even though it would have been highly unlikely anyway. I haven't watched the promo...I REALLY hope it isn't Alex!

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It says a beloved character....Kepner is not beloved-either is Alex
so they are staying..has to be either Bailey/Derek or Lexy...I dont think
Callie and Arizona are all that loved

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I think it will be Lexie .. for starters shonda said it would be a bittersweet/painful reunion for mark and lexie .. 2 she really hasn't had much of a story line this season ... and it would be the perfect twist just
as mark is about to choose her he has to say goodbye to her .. and lexie is definitely Beloved .....just my thoughts :-)

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i think it is going to be kepner. shes going to kill herself from the depression of rejection. cant find a job and seattle grace pulled her offer, she ran out of the bar drunk and crying. all the accident victims will survive but kepner will off herself. we have not had a suicide yet.

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Not surprised at all and I don't think we have sceen the worst of it. They announced an hour ago Grey will be renewed and we know contracts were inked but that doesn't mean anything. The docs on the plane Mer was injured and yang told her derick was sucked out of the plane. We did see mark looking around the crash area. We know they are in BFE we know there will be a risky rescue. Maybe another plane crash that would suck the other docs on it or Webbed has a heart attach and dies I am sure Derick will be presumed dead. Lexie wasn't on the plane unless she was hidden in the luggage. Arizona was on the plane but I didn't see Callie. Btw Arizonas either died a few years back. I think this is just a small crack in the glass and it will shatter next week. Did. Only pick up on the.clues in the opening picki g up the two s for surgery and the tragic tail of things that happen to birds when the migrate. Now April has freaking out and more than likely off herself since there are more thaniky will be a few openings. Sorry for the dark humor. I recently heard the returning actor is the guy who played Denny and died. He want on as a dr how would that work out?

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GUYS. LEXI. ITS TOTALLY GOING TO BE LEXI. SHE'S NOT THE SAFE LIST. and it'll be perfect because of what just happened with mark, and beloved is an understatement. It deff wont be Callie because of all the things happening with arizona (plus they already did the dead spouse thing this season), and it wont be arizona because then the drama with nick is for nothing. And FYI, the safe list is:
Derek, Meredith, Cristina, Alex, Bailey, Jackson and Mark.

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It is going to be DEREK! Didn't anyone see him on the spinoff show yet? That is why Shonda wants to show the dreamhouse tonight, they will never live in it ;-(