Grey’s Anatomy’s eleventh season, with Cristina (Sandra Oh) off in Switzerland and Ellis Grey and Richard’s love child showing up at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, promises a lot more drama and character development for Shonda Rhimes' characters.

Grey's Anatomy Season 11

Rhimes doesn’t have any plans of saying goodbye to Grey’s in the near future, having found renewed inspiration for the show and the characters she’s built after the shakeups last season. “I see the show going as long as I’m interested in telling the story,” Rhimes told The Hollywood Reporter. “I got excited again and that moment continues to happen for me as I look at these characters and go, “Oh, there’s growth there, there’s something more that can happen.'”

For the forthcoming season, Rhimes admits that Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) has naturally become the focus. Not only has her "person" Cristina flown off to Europe, but she's about to find out she has a new half sister working in the hospital and has to figure out whether or not she's going to follow her husband Derek (Patrick Dempsey) to Washington D.C. "It’s really a Meredith-centric season," admitted Rhimes. "There’s a lot of growth. She’s lost her person. Her sister has shown up. Her husband is chafing to go someplace else. She’s got all these things going on. Maybe that’s the theme, maybe it’s independence."

The appearance of Meredith's half-sister Maggie came as a shock to viewers when she revealed her parentage in last season's finale – but Rhimes claims she existed in her mind from the pilot and was going to be introduced as early as Season 4. Until last season, Rhimes never felt like the timing was right. "All of those moments have been seeded in," said Rhimes, who's not sure if Sarah Paulson or Kate Burton will return to film flashbacks of Ellis and Richard's (James Pickens Jr.) romance. "The dialogue of all of Ellis’ love child is all planted in the show. It’s not something that we have to backdate and go back and find. We’ve known about it all along."

While Meredith and Derek are figuring out how they're going to compromise – or not compromise – about the prospect of Washington, Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) will have to deal with their own ongoing relationship problems. As Rhimes pointed out, they currently have a number of Band-Aids in place holding their marriage together. But, when they really evaluate the prospect of using surrogacy to have another child, they're forced to confront the issues they've been avoiding.

"I love the idea that for them, it’s going to open up the opportunity for them to finally explore everything that’s wrong and whether or not they should be together at all or whether or not they want to be together at all," says the Grey's creator. "Their entire relationship, by the way, has been a series of Band-Aids. It’s heartbreaking and it’s beautiful and it’s either you choose to fix all the Band-Aids that are wrong and be together or you move on. But it’s a choice of commitment and we’re going to watch them explore that stuff."

As for Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Alex (Justin Chambers), Rhimes said that they're romantic lives will take a backseat for a while. Fresh off of losing Cristina for good, she has no plans on giving him a new love interest right away. And Karev, while still very much with Jo (Camilla Luddington), has the more pressing matter of whether or not to keep his lucrative job at the private practice or assume Cristina's spot on the board.

Grey's Anatomy's 11th season will kick off on ABC Thursday, Sept. 25 at 8/7c.


For More Grey's Anatomy News:

> Caterina Scorsone Bumped To Series Regular For 'Grey's Anatomy' Season 11

> 'Grey's Anatomy' Finale Recap: Cristina Says Goodbye; Richard Meets His Daughter

> 'Grey's Anatomy' Recap: Cristina Searches For Her Replacement; Leah Is Cut From Residency Program; Derek Wants To Move To DC

> 'Grey's Anatomy': Four Regulars Sign New Two-Year Deals

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