By Samantha Highfill
Updated October 11, 2016 at 03:01 PM EDT
Katie Yu/The CW

Anything is possible on Supernatural. We’ve seen humans be possessed, humans turn into demons, demons turn into humans, and don’t even get us started on all the angelic possibilities. So when Mary Winchester appeared in the season 11 finale, some fans were skeptical that she was, well, actually Mary.

But according to Supernatural showrunner Andrew Dabb, she’s 100 percent human. “It’s her. She was brought back,” Dabb says. “There is nothing demonic, nothing angelic. We’re treating her very much as a character and the character who has been a part of Sam and Dean’s story for 11 seasons. This is really her and she’s having a real impact on our boys.”

Speaking to how Mary will affect the show, Dabb says: “At the heart, the dynamic of the show is unchanged in that it’s always going to be about the brothers, it’s always going to be about the family they’ve put together, and Mary doesn’t so much upset that as complement it. When she comes in, it’s family through another lens. She is their origin myth, her death led to everything, so when she comes back, the boys having a mother again which they really haven’t had.”

Dabb continued: “At first, they’re really excited to have her back, but also aren’t quite sure how she’s going to respond to them because they know the last thing she wanted was for her kids to be hunters and now she’s walking into a world where her kids are hunters. So there’s a little [bit of] feeling each other out through the first part of the season before coming to a place that’s probably a little more settled.”

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Yes, Mary does find herself pulled back into the world of hunting, but at least she finds a new friend along the way. As Dabb puts it: “We never want to shift the focus of the show off Sam and Dean, so by bringing Mary in, it’s more along the lines of: How does she affect Sam? How does she affect Dean? She and Castiel form a really interesting friendship and we think she’s a nice pivot point around which we can spin our characters.”

Supernatural season 12 premieres Thursday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW, and don’t miss Supernatural‘s Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki at EW’s PopFest October 29-30. Get your tickets here!