As of Thursday, fans will have been riding with the Scandal gladiators for six full seasons. It's hard to imagine a life without Olivia Pope and all of her political shenanigans. And according to ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey, creator Shonda Rhimes, and star Kerry Washington, the breakup is significantly tough on them, too. In the Upfronts presentation for the series, Dungey reportedly hinted that the final Scandal season is very much in the beginning stages. In fact, the studio is still trying to hone in on a final episode count. Fans are surely wondering when Scandal will return for Season 7. After piecing together all of the evidence so far, I believe all signs point to early 2018.
UPDATE: ABC announced on July 24 that Scandal will return on Oct. 5.
EARLIER: In a released statement Tuesday, Rhimes said that deciding to end the show was easier than actually saying "goodbye." However, she knows that Season 7 is the perfect place to put a pin in the story. According to Deadline, Rhimes said,
"Deciding how to end a show is easy. Deciding when to finish is quite simple when the end date is years away. But actually going through with it? Actually standing up to say: ‘This is it?’ Not so much."
Rhimes continued saying that "next year" the studio would be "going all out." This obviously leads me to believe that the final season is likely to premiere in 2018.
As for what fans can all expect from the show's final hurrah, Rhimes has every intention of setting television on fire. She made it more than clear that "nothing on the table" in Season 7. Her statement continued,
"We are going to handle the end the way we like to handle the important things in our Scandal family: all together, white hats on, gladiators running full speed over a cliff."
Scandal's Season 6 finale is sure to give us a few hints as to what the themes of Season 7 will be. But because we all know how unpredictable Shondaland has been, I wouldn't suggest holding tight to any fan theories at the moment. All in all, gladiators are in for one heck of a final goodbye.