|Shonda Rhimes and Sandra Oh at the NAACP Image Awards in 2006.|
The Hollywood Reporter: What was your reaction when you heard Sandra Oh would not be returning? Were you surprised?
Shonda Rhimes: I know Sandra pretty well. It was one of those things where I so wished it wasn't true for many reasons. For me, as a human being, I love spending time with Sandra, and as a writer, writing for Sandra is one of the best things that's ever happened to me. I would hope that it wouldn't be happening -- but I also know Sandra, and I know that it's time for her to have new challenges. I get to have new challenges all the time because I get to create other shows, but she doesn't get to do that, so I fully understood it.
THR: How soon in the season will Cristina's exit be addressed? Will it be a season-long story?
Rhimes: It won't be until the end of the season. The minute Sandra and I started talking about this, we have a story that we want to tell and we want to tell it really well, and that story isn't about her leaving the show as much as it is Cristina Yang's growth as a person and as a surgeon. Cristina Yang is not going to magically decide she wants babies, no.
THR: Do you know how Cristina's story ends? Will it be a happy or sad one?
Rhimes: I know how it ends, but I'm not going to say anything else.
THR: Is there a way that Cristina and Owen can end up together despite Sandra leaving and Kevin McKidd continuing on with the show?
Rhimes: No comment.
Full interview at THR