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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 Alex who dies! Shonda said we have a 'beautiful' moment where we see how he's grown up, maybe if there is a plane crash he takes charge of everyone injured or something, as it seems (depending on if he fails/passes the boards) he's the only character not in an actual storyline or in a major relationship with another character. I don't want it to be him, but it totally makes sense if he is the one to go. Also, this could just be total finale hype and it's a predictable yet tragic death of Adele.

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Season nine thoughts the change is the show follows the residents into their new lives. we stil have SGMW but you could have Boston and other locations. it would allow the cast to move on and gives those who want it less air time you could still have mer and Dericks dream home. You could have new residents for Bail Nd Teddy to whip in shape it would follow a little of what ER did last season it aired. It could also lead to the Return of Izzie or Burke.

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Sorry my lat post got cut off and editing messed up so if you want really tragic, gut wrenching, tears flowing here what you do. You have a plan crash that kills Webber and the Docs off. yes very twist OMG WTF plot, but think about it. Poor Dericknus now a widow and a single Daddie (look out Addie) Zolas mom is gone. bailey looses her residents and her mentor. Owen is left with this gaping whole in his heart and goes of the deep end over cheating. Teddy losses her mini me and she is still grieving over Henry. Arizona looses her only pedis fellow and is heart Brocken because she gets Alex. April don't know who would really miss her. Avery's mom looses her baby and her new love interest. Lexi looses her sister. mark looses his Alter ego. then poor Adel is alone in a facility. this could allow Izzie to come back for Alex's funeral along with Burke b even worse we know Derick and Zola are at the import they fligh to San Fran to cheer up mer and get on the flight also and we loose derick and sweet Zola. I know it is sick but wow

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CORRECTION - APRIL SLEPT WITH JACKSON? SO HE WILL BE KILLED, AND APRIL WILL BE PREGNANT.

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Continued. I don,t see killing of Zola, Sophia, or Tuck. they just killed little Tommy and on Private Practice Amy,s no brain baby so a child doesn't make since. I don,t see it being Calzonia they had the car accident, Cali near death, Sophia being a pre term baby. They also came on to the show later Cal started season 2 not sure about Arizona. This leaves Mark and Lex and they have been star crossed lovers, but it wouldn't,t tug on our heart strings. then Teddy and Owen they could send them to Pakistan. teddy may leave for another job, but killing her off tragic, but not life altering. Then we have Mercey West alum Avery and April they haven,t been on the show for long and once again just not tragic. Now "flight" can have two other meanings moving forward like flight of a baby bird or fight or fight reaction to a situation. Now if you want a truly tragic story line you have a plane crash that kills off all the residents (ok maybe not Burke or Izzie) but you get the impact residents, derick is now a widow and a single dad, Avery mom looses her star and love interest and her baby and Mark looses his mini me. Alex woulld allow Izzie to come back for the funeral and Arizonia is the one person who gets him would be lost she hasn't pick another peds fellow So maybe Richard has a heart attack or stroke after he hears of the disaster they all live and he dies. it is tragic, but all signs lead Webber. tere are also photos on line of Derick and Zola at the airport holding a pick ballon meeting Meridth and she has her suitcase so don't know how ll the residents and webber could be on the same flight unless Derick brings Zola to San Fran to cheer up Meridth and they hop on the fight home with the gang or they tke another flight and that crashes taking out Derick, Meridth and little Zola I know these are all very dark and OMG WTF thoughts

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I think - Ben failed, gets killed. April will be pregnant.

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Ok I am going to make a few points from recent articles. There are several that talk about the death of a beloved character and how it affects everyone. It also stated in a few articles it was one of the original cast members. that leaves Derick and Meridth a(both said monts ago they would stay if they had fewer episodes. Then there is Alex ok I could see this but he isn't that well liked and somewhat a dick so beloved not. then there is Baily not going to happen they need something happy in the middle of tragedy ie engagement. (note they could kill off Ben as another death). then there is Christina once again Meridths best friend, but not truly loved by all and we need to finish the boarding Own drama. that it being a kid we have killed off leaves Richard and Adel. Ok we just saw Richard in San Fran as a fill in proctor for the boards so in theroy he is on another (flight). He has Ben through hell with falling off the wagon, resigning as chief, talk of the hospital retirement and of course Adele being strickened with Alzhimers and not even knowing him any more. Think about the huge impact his death would have on every single character on the show. He is Baily,s mentor, he hired almost every doc currently on the show, he is Meridths "dad" in many ways and it would leave Adele all alone (which it would take care of her character who has her own show starting up. I dont see

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And on the Izzie note - she will come back. I´ve read somewhere that they want her and Alex to have some conclusion.
I personaly think he´ll finally find an adul relationship, will be happy, and that she is going to come back and mess everything up. Once again.
(I never liked her very much :D But she did have her moments...)

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@canxgo
You´re right - killing underdog is very clever. Especialy one that is beloved - but that was not my argument. I´m saying it would not be clever to do it AGIAN. We´ve been there with George. All that great future that can´t come true, all those chances, all those tears. The person who would be great, amazing - but was not given a chance. Can´t change the world.
We laready saw that. We need new angle.
Bailey - mum to her son, mum to the whole hospital. Derek - finally found a happy ending, dad, husband. Zola - a little child, child thath was prayed for - child that went through some major brain surgery and now was shown sick. Richard - another family to Mer, heart of the hospital, forever ´the chief Webber´. Lexie - never gets to tell the one that she loves that she does so. Mark - basicaly the same.
And with this much obtions, you people think they´ll recycle Georges story?

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If it hinted that it will be a heart breaker.... then it will be Lexie or Mark, at their final moment, they will profess their love for one another... and the final kiss will be the kiss of death....