Sorry [Grey's Anatomy](tag:200746) fans, just when you thought it was safe to put the tissues away following the final few episodes in Season 11, creator Shonda Rhimes has sprinkled more salt on the wound.
Speaking to reporters as part of the 2015 Summer Television Critics Association press tour, Rhimes has come out in defense of the choice to kill off fan favorite Dr. Derek 'McDreamy' Shepherd, saying it was the only way to preserve the show's big love:
"What were the options? Either Der was going to walk out on Mer and leave her high and dry, and what was that going to mean? That would suggest the love wasn't true, the thing we had said for 11 years was a lie and McDreamy wasn't McDreamy. For me, that was untenable."
She then went on to say the only way McDreamy could have left his wife, and not ruin the notion of true love was to kill him off:
"Meredith and Derek's love had to remain Meredith and Derek's love. As painful as it was for me as a storyteller, the only way to preserve what felt true to me was Derek was going to have to die for that love to remain honest."
Well, whatever Shonda Rhimes, it still doesn't take the pain away!
Fortunately though, after showing no regret at McDreamy's horrible demise, Rhimes was at least able to shed some light on what we can expect from Season 12 (!!) of the series.
Following on from the time jump after Derek's death at the end of Season 11, we'll now be seeing a single Meredith living in a house with her sister. Rhimes said that Mer will be "surrounded by women who are dating and having a whole life and she's not interested in any of that. ... You start to wonder if there's a second life ... or are those years behind you?"
Rhimes also divulged that the theme of Season 12 will be "rebirth," which makes perfect sense given Meredith's new journey is beginning. Ellen Pompeo who plays Meredith also noted her excitement to be playing Meredith in this new chapter of her life as a mother and widow, saying it "is just a very important human story to tell. So many people lose their spouses. A lot of people feel like they can't get up again. If we give anybody, even one person, a little bit of comfort, that's a story worth telling."
Grey's Anatomy returns to ABC on Thursday, September 24th at 8pm ET