Exclusive: Grey's Anatomy Boss Cracks Finale Puzzle, But Contractual Question Marks Loom

Grey’s Anatomy boss Shonda Rhimes is done playing the waiting game.

The show’s creator has mapped out plans for the show’s upcoming eighth season finale despite not knowing which members of the original cast will and won’t be back next fall.

“I have figured out how the season is going to end, which was the most complex puzzle I’ve had to put together — ever,” Rhimes tells TVLine. “We have all these moveable pieces of who’s coming back and who’s not, and finally I just decided to focus on what was going to be best creatively for the show and figure out a way to make it work REGARDLESS of what is happening [off screen].”

That’s a change from Rhimes’ initial goal, which was to wait and see how negotiations with core castmembers (Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Justin Chambers, included) played out and then solve the finale conundrum — a plan she now admits made her rather anxious.

“I was very nervous at the beginning of the season because I never started a season not knowing how it was going to end,” she confesses. “But once I figured out how it’s going to end, I feel good.”

Rhimes insists she doesn’t “know anything about what’s happening” with regard to the contract talks. “I write the scripts,” she notes, “I don’t negotiate the contracts.”

That said, she’s still heavily invested in the outcome. “I hope to have resolution every morning when I wake up,” she says with a laugh. “But when it comes it comes. I have accepted that it’s not something I have any control over whatsoever, so I’m just letting whatever happens happen.”