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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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Egrey

i was just revisiting some episodes from season five. and i watched the part where Mark tells Lexie: You think you broke me Little Grey? You're the one who put me back together.
Again i found myself in tears thinking about how they could just kill off lexie so easily

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I hate them for killing off Lexie. I truly wanted her and Mark to end up together because they were meant for each other. Just like when I was losing interest when Derek and Meredith were dancing their dance for 6 seasons, I am lost with the Mark/Lexie relationship being ruined.

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It wasn't like they had much if a choice, they only kill characters off if the actor is over it and it seems that chyler is. And btws this is a great show, but y'all are acting like its a bible "the season finale has made me lose hope in true love", "greys anatomy has taught me to be strong in real life" come on! Y'all need lives that will teach you these things. Not an hour long television show...

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Aww I was in tears poor lexie I so wanted lexie and mark to get together and have a baby but I guess that's not going to happen now . I don't want anyone else to die . I have watched the programme since it started never missing 1 .. I love them all .

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hey,jerks !!!! well doone you killed lexi WOW!!! how could you be so stupid the only reason I was watching grey's anatomy is because of slexie now that you killed her i knoww looooooooot of fans that want watch that shit anymore .
I don't think anyone will watch the season 9, I mean lexie and sloan are so good together

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I hate that she killed Lexie, but I know it's not just her decision and I do get it.. The thing is, for me Lexie & Mark were ment to end up together and somehow this has made me loose a bit of trust/hope for love that is meant to be, soulmates etc. in real life. I was kinda hopeless before, but now I'm just heartbroken. I know it's just a TVshow, but still, it's hard to explain. Plus I think killing a character like Lexie like this was just pathetic. Mid episode, lamely and without final goodbyes to anyone else but Mark, on the other hand I think it being just Slexie alone was as it should have been (although it really shouldn't have happened at all). It's a dilemma! And I'm a little ashamed to say, but I do wish that Mark would die too, that would give me the movielove ending I need. I know he has Sophia, but I don't care and I really don't like Julia at all as of yet. Urgh.

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I think everyone is missing the point..."Lexi" Chyler wanted to leave the show. Her contract was up for renewal and SHE didn't want to renew it. Sorry people but she's gone, no coma no dream GONE.

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I just can't take it...Mark and Lexie is like my version of forever and to see one of them dying is too much. Please let it be a dream. You can't just kill Lexie like this, she can't leave Mark like this.

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I really love the show and the cast. It really broke my heart to see Lexie killed off. There was alot of chemistry between her and Mark. I hope you keep Mark's story line open, he adds class to the show.I have watched the show from the first season and even though a favorite is wrote off there will be another charactor that will steal our hearts. I just hope meredith and derek stays till the end.

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I wish Yang would leave. I'm sure Sandra Oh is a nice person but Christina is so mean, selfish and nasty I can't stand her. I don't know why Mer is friends with her! She killed 2 of her babies without caring what the fathers wanted. If she's so smart why can't she use birth control? I'm in Medical and she's just like a Doc who thinks they are God. This has nothing to do with her race, I'm a minority myself. She hopes patients are in bad shape so she can cut! Scary! I just think she's a horrible person. Glad Owen cheated, she killed his child! It took her down a peg or two. She's mean to everyone (but Mer) now she feels pain.