As if the Season 10 finale of Grey's Anatomy didn't make it abundantly clear, Meredith Grey's (Ellen Pompeo) dearly-departed mother, Ellis Grey, will be a prominent part of the Season 11 storyline — with the revelation that the hospital's new head of cardio, Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary), is Ellis's long-lost daughter with Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.).
Though Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes is stopping short of definitively saying that Season 11 will show flashbacks to younger Ellis and younger Richard, she does reveal that the writers are discussing the idea.
"We've talked about the flashback moments and what to do with those," she tells TV Guide.
We'd say it's a sure bet — we're gonna do the time warp in Season 11.
However, as Shonda tells The Hollywood Reporter, they have a bit of a quandary on their hands: They've used two different actresses to portray Ellis around the same stage in her life.
In the earliest flashbacks, Ellis was played by Scandal's Kate Burton — the same actress who also played the older, dementia-ridden version over the course of the first three seasons. But in Season 6 flashback episode, the legendary surgeon was played by American Horror Story's Sarah Paulson.
"I did my research over the past 200-plus episodes of Grey's," Shonda tells THR. "Sarah Paulson and Kate Burton both played Ellis in the same time period. When Meredith was on the carousel, that was played by Kate Burton. But when Ellis was in the hospital dealing with the AIDS patient with Richard, that was Sarah Paulson. It was the exact same time period, maybe months apart, somehow played by two different actresses. So I don't know if it's going to be Sarah Paulson or Kate Burton, we'll figure it out."