As Grey's Anatomy heads into its 10th season, there's a very real chance that we could say goodbye to some of our favorite characters as several of the original cast members' contracts will be up at the end of the season. Still, executive producer Shonda Rhimes says that doesn't mean it'll spell the end of the series. TVGuide.com hit up Rhimes again — check out more scoop here — to get her thoughts on possibly saying farewell and what the future holds for the Grey Sloan Memorial docs this season.
If last season was about seeing our favorite doctors as attendings, what would you say this season is about for them?
Shonda Rhimes: Now that they've all reached this wonderful place in their lives where they know what they're doing, they've gone from embracing being attendings to having ownership of the hospital. It's not just that they're trying to figure out what it is to be attendings and figure out what that means, but in a lot of ways, we have the struggle of, they are now the board of directors at the hospital. It's ownership of the hospital on top of everything else.
How will Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) handle that responsibility now that they also have kids?
Rhimes: Meredith is juggling an incredible amount of things. She's one of the board members of the hospital, she's an attending trying to make a name for herself, she's got two small children, she's married, she's the caretaker of everybody in her life. So, for her, there's a lot to balance. It's something they're going to try to figure out. Meredith and Derek are trying to figure out what this is going to mean for both of them. It's never going to be a simple thing.
ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee mentioned there is a possibility of you writing some series regulars out this season. How are you preparing for figuring out the end game for some cast members?
Rhimes: What's nice is I've been through this before because we had to try to prepare for it at the end of Season 8. Having been through it before, I have a different attitude about it. I've asked very clearly that I'd like to know things sooner rather than later so that I can plan. Every last one of the originals that we have left is very special to me, and if we're going to have anybody exit, I really wanted the time to plan and write and execute really fitting and beautiful ends for those characters.
Are you looking at Season 10 as the final season?
Rhimes: Nobody sees Season 10 as being our final season, so no.
What steps will Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) take to deal with her PTSD?
Rhimes: I don't know that Arizona realizes that she has PTSD that needs to be dealt with head-on at this point in time.
Will Callie (Sara Ramirez) try to help Arizona with that?
Rhimes: I don't know that Callie is in an emotional position to feel like she could help Arizona at this moment in time. I have now just given you more than I've given anybody else about Callie and Arizona!
Can they come back from the infidelity?
Rhimes: I think they can. I love these two actresses. They're so good in this relationship and how they work together. It's going to be a challenge, and they're going to have a really challenging, complex time dealing with what's going on. That's going to be a journey for them. Whether or not that journey brings them back together or makes them realize that they should be a part, no matter what they're joined by a child. They're joined by a shared history, and they're joined by a hospital that they're both board members and part-owners of. So, it's not going to be that easy.
Will Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Owen (Kevin McKidd) actually take steps towards moving on?
Rhimes: Cristina and Owen are going to face the challenge of what happened at the end of last season in a very Cristina and Owen fashion.
What can you tell us about how Alex (Justin Chambers) and Jo (Camilla Luddington) are navigating their new relationship?
Rhimes: Alex obviously has some residual relationship issues from many of his past relationships. But I also wanted this season to have a lot of fun in it, and I wanted it to be funny. Alex and Jo are really charmingly funny together, so we're having a lot of fun with them as we begin.
Can the same be said for Bailey (Chandra Wilson)? Is she still struggling or will we see her back to form this season?
Rhimes: We watched Bailey get pulled out of where she was when she had to operate on Meredith, which was a really big moment in terms of having a cathartic change on her, which was great. She's got other challenges this season that we will see.
Grey's Anatomy returns with a two-hour premiere on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 9/8c on ABC.