Grey's Anatomy fans may have been shocked by the news that Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) will no longer bring his breezy charm through the halls of Seattle Grace-Mercy West in Season 9, but it turns out showrunner Shonda Rhimes and Eric had been planning this move for a while.

How will Eric’s departure fit into the Season 9 storyline?

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“It was a thing that Eric had been thinking about for a while, but it felt like the right time to him” Shonda tells Entertainment Weekly. “I love Eric, and Eric and I have been working together for a very long time, so it was bittersweet. I’m happy he’s going to go on and do other things, but I’m really sad to not be able to work with him every day.”

Yes, we’re sad, too, but what can we expect from McSteamy’s grand, final bow on the show? Will he be too depressed to continue practicing after Lexie’s (Chyler Leigh) death? Or will he not survive his injuries from the plane crash?

Shonda says that in the Season 9 premiere, “We are ahead enough in time where we see the outcome of lots of things. And in the second episode of the season, there’s rewind — we go backwards — to where they’re still in the forest.”

What this means for Mark is that he’ll appear in the first two episodes of Season 9. In the premiere, we’ll see his departure (whether he dies or not is still up in the air), and in the second episode, we’ll see flashbacks to what happened at the crash site immediately after the Season 8 finale (Season 8, Episode 24, "Flight").

Shonda also had this to say to the The Hollywood Reporter, regarding Mark’s exit.

I'm really proud of the way we're handing his exit. I really wanted and fought for that character to be given their due. I didn't want to come back to this season and say, ‘Mark Sloane is gone.’ I really wanted to give that character his due and we came up with a beautiful and creative way to showcase that and that goodbye.”


Do you think the loss of McSteamy spells doomsday for Grey’s? Or will we carry on without him?

Grey’s Anatomy Season 9 will premiere on Thursday, September 27 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Sources: EW, THR

Molly Friedman is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @MollyFriedman.

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