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Grey's Anatomy Season 9: Will Anyone Else Die?!

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With Grey's Anatomy fans still reeling from the eighth season finale of the ABC drama, creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes has a warning for those mourning the shocking death of a fan favorite:

They are still out there.

In an interview with E! Online, Rhimes said that "everyone is still so immersed in ‘Who died?'" that "no one is talking about the thing that I actually think is important and was the point of the [season finale]."

What would that be exactly? You may not be ready for this ...

Meant to Be

"They're still out there in the forest, and we don't know if they are going to be OK," she said. "We left it open for a reason because ... I hate to say this, but just because you saw people alive at the end of the finale doesn't mean they're going to be alive when the season starts up."

"We are completely jumping off into the unknown next season."

The unknown is something Rhimes is well familiar with.

The show-runner actually had a second cliffhanger planned and written that reflected her not knowing what would happen next season, regarding the cast's return (they have since signed new contracts).

Up until the day before the table read for the finale, this was up in the air. Then the original cast members re-signed, which "turned the tables" and pointed the eighth season-ender in the direction we witnessed.

The biggest consequence of that direction, obviously, was the death of Lexie Grey. A series regular and fan favorite since the tail end of Grey's Anatomy Season 3, her loss is hard for fans to stomach.

How did Chyler Leigh, who plays Lexie, take the news?

"Stuff that happens inside our family is stuff that happens inside our family," Rhimes said. "I have so much respect for Chyler, and the decision was very hard for everybody involved and I want to respect her privacy."

"The only thing I knew when I started writing the finale was that Chyler was leaving the finale. That was the only information I knew," she says, adding that the cast found out "at the table read."

"It was really, really emotional. Chyler Leigh and I were the only people who knew what was coming for her character. Kim Raver and I were the only ones who knew what was coming for that character."

"Chyler and I had been discussing it for months."

Excerpts from the rest of Rhimes' interview below ...

Mark and Meredith

On the possibility of ghost Lexie: "We saw Denny as a ghost, and people didn't really like that, did they? It was a really hard decision to let that character die versus send her off into the sunset somewhere."

"It was really difficult. It was not made lightly. I don't think we're going to see Lexie Grey ever again. That's not the intention, to see her again. It's a big loss for the characters and it's a big loss for the show."

On her "other plans" for Mark and Lexie: "Honestly, I always felt like Mark and Lexie were meant to be. If things had not turned out the way they had this season, I had a completely different thing planned for them."

"I was one of the people who loved Mark and Lexie together; I had a completely different thing planned for them. The introduction of Julia was part of planning a completely different storyline for them."

"When Mark and Lexie say 'meant to be,' it wasn't about servicing the fans. That's how I felt. That's what was supposed to happen, and that's what I wanted to see. It was heartbreaking."

On Teddy's possible return: "I don't think that's a possibility that has been ruled out. At least not by me. I love Kim. I say to my partner Betsy [Beers] every once in a while, 'We could do a series that's just Med Com.'"

On this being the hardest-ever episode to write: "It was for a variety of different reasons. I questioned it while we were shooting it and I questioned it once I saw the edit for it."

"And then once we got to the soundstage, literally Tuesday, I'm watching the show and I'm still changing the music at the last minute. Because it's so unsettling at the end."

"I think there's something very unsatisfying about the way that it ends ... I like the ride. Doing the shooting episode was really great because while it was gut-wrenching and hard to do, I knew who was OK."

"And in this, we don't know who's OK. We still don't totally know who's OK."

"There's still choices to be made. It is very unsettling. The idea of my Meredith and my Cristina in the wilderness without a match, chewing half a stick of gum each, having each other, while beautiful, was really painful."

"I feel like everyone has the right to have the reaction that they want to have. I think part of the reason why I am staying away from the reaction is I fully get that this is an unsatisfying finale."

"I have to focus on what happens next. Paying attention to fan reaction or going online to see what everyone has to say about it is paying attention to what happened before, and that does not actually help me at this point."

On where we pick up next fall: "I do know where we are going to pick up next season. But I'm not going to talk about it."

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

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I honestly cant believe Lexie dies....i just hope merideth is deaming or something because they cant do that to mark!!!!!! Why cant April die???? she failed her boards and has no purpose on the show...im sure theres another virgin or something to fill Aprils part!!!!!!!

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I know a lot of people are upset about the past deaths we have witnessed on greys anatomy. but that's life. life isn't always what we want it to be. But, whatever happens it is meant to be. I will always continue to watch greys anatomy no matter what life throws at us. greys anatomy has taught me to be strong in the face of death in the face of suffering. I feel that's what the show is all about. but I still think it was a dream if you notice all the wind chimes at very distinct moments during the show flight you will also wonder too if it was just a dream. But who is the one dreaming is the question. we all know cristina has ptsd and she told meridith"i hace ptsd I am unreliable" we also know owen has ptsd. I feel owen will commit suicide because of cristina. Fight or flight. I can't wait to see what happens next. I will always remain a loyal fan forever changed and forever greatful for the lessons I have learned. Thank you shonda

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I feel like the wimdchimes represent something. I also feel like the chopper was done sort of trigger. For christina or for owen. I still think it's some sort of dream and I think the next episode will be called fight. As in fight or flight. A ptsd symptom

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I know a lot of people are upset about the past deaths we have witnessed on greys anatomy. but that's life. life isn't always what we want it to be. But, whatever happens it is meant to be. I will always continue to watch greys anatomy no matter what life throws at us. greys anatomy has taught me to be strong in the face of death in the face of suffering. I feel that's what the show is all about. but I still think it was a dream if you notice all the wind chimes at very distinct moments during the show flight you will also wonder too if it was just a dream. But who is the one dreaming is the question. we all know cristina has ptsd and she told meridith"i hace ptsd I am unreliable" we also know owen has ptsd. I feel owen will commit suicide because of cristina.

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the episodes flight was very disturbing but in a way I feel like it was a dream anyone notice all the wind chimes? maybe I'm thinking too much about this but the wind chimes were very eerie. I'm wondering if meredith is dreaming. I also remember christina saying I have ptsd I'm unreliable. so I'm wondering who is dreaming if it is a dream I also owen has ptsd. maybe the next episode should be called a fight as in flight or fight. I feel owen will commit suicide over the loss of christina. only time will tell what happens I know a lot of people are upset about all the past deaths on greys anatomy

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its like the titanic catastropheee ..mark asking her too comee backkk !!! then 10 years from now you are going to realize that SHEE COULD BEEE ALIVEEEEE IFF YOUUU JUSTTTT HELP HEERRRR !!!!! BRING HER BACK!!!!

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Please from Mexico...dont kill Lexi, she and Mark are meant to be!! If you do that your are going to lose many Mexican fans!! I have a fan club and we are really dissapointed with this ending !!! mark and lexiee for eveerrr but noot deaddd bringg her backkn !!!!

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why not kill bailey or something, anyonee but not lexie

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Not Lexie please!! If she really dies and is not in a coma i will never watch this show again, to much pain on the finale...

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Please allow lexie to come back!! i respect chyler's decisions for more family but the downtime from not filming will allow the family time! the fans need lexie. she is one of the few characters with love and passion for others.she could be in a coma. or it could all be a dream. some miracle! plz. the show needs her.

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