'Grey's Anatomy' Season 9 spoilers: 10 things you need to know
"Grey's Anatomy" returns to ABC for Season 9 on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. In the meantime, thanks to THR and TVGuide's in-depth interviews with executive producer Shonda Rhimes, we do have some scoop for you. Here are 10 things you need to know about "Grey's" in a post-Lexie world.
1. There will be a time jump... sort of. When we rejoin the team in the season premiere, it's two or three months after the plane crash, and we'll see how they've recovered and where they are in their lives. In Episode 2, we'll flash back to the crash site, to see how they got there.
2. There could be more deaths. Dane will be appearing in Season 9, but that doesn't mean he survives the crash. Rhimes maintains that there could be additional deaths and cast departures. She does confirm that Meredith, Derek, and Cristina survive the crash, but she refuses to talk about Arizona's future, or about whether Jessica Capshaw is returning to the show.
3. Some doctors did leave Seattle Grace. In the finale, some of our docs were planning on pursuing other programs -- and the plane crash didn't necessarily change all of their minds. We can expect to see more than one former Seattle Grace doctor working in another hospital. Season 9 is set to take place in Seattle Grace and in another hospital, the location of which is being kept under wraps.
4. When we find the doctors in Season 9, they won't be suffering from PTSD like they did after the shooting. Surviving the shooting made Meredith and her comrades stronger, so they're better equipped to cope with tragedy, like the plane crash. They probably won't be flying too soon, though.
5. Derek's hand is damaged. "We're going to watch what happens to a doctor who can temporarily no longer perform surgery," Rhimes tells TVGuide. "This is really, very clearly who you blame when your hand is injured like this. And what do you do and how do you overcome this? Derek is being pretty heroic about it, which is interesting."
6. Mark's departure won't be taken lightly. "Mark is a teacher to Jackson, he's best friends with Derek, he's Callie's best friend, he's Sofia's father. It's going to be a big loss for everyone and I don't want to minimize that," Rhimes tells THR.
7. Despite the tragedy, this won't be a dark season. According to Rhimes, the theme of the season is romance, and they'll be exploring how that applies to love, friendship and surgery. That applies to Cristina and Owen, who we can expect to see finding their way back to each other this season.
8. Loretta Devine, who was nominated for an Emmy for her performances on "Grey's Anatomy," will return this season. Though Rhimes refuses to discuss the new guest stars (like Gaius Charles and Camilla Luddington) she does confirm that Devine will return as Adele and that her relationship with Dr. Weber will continue to factor in.
9. April isn't going too far. Post plane crash, April moved back home, but in the first episode, she returns to Seattle Grace after two months away. Expect to see a new version of April -- perhaps more confident -- as she finds a new place in the Seattle Grace world.
10. Alex is going to be in a dark place. Arizona was never supposed to be on the plane that crashed -- she actually took Alex's place, because she felt betrayed by his decision to transfer to another hospital. He's going to feel a lot of guilt about that decision this year. Things aren't looking too good for Arizona fans, guys.
What do you think about these revelations? Weigh in below in the comments section.