Chuck is a writer, and writers lie. That was the lesson of Supernatural‘s season 14 finale when Chuck revealed that he had been the author of Sam and Dean’s lives all along. And when the boys refused to continue to follow Chuck’s master plan, Chuck responded by ending the world, which means that heading into the show’s final season, the Winchesters — along with Castiel, of course — are going up against God.

“There’s always more to the story than a pure black-and-white villain narrative but at the end of the day, God’s been pulling the strings behind the scenes and now it’s Sam and Dean realizing their strings have been pulled, not liking it for what it’s done to them, and really trying to break free for real for the first time in their lives,” Supernatural co-showrunner Andrew Dabb tells EW.

And it’s not the first time that the boys have tried to break free from a father figure. “It is a relationship they had with their father,” Dabb says, referencing Sam and Dean’s real father, John Winchester. “So much of their journey, especially Dean’s journey, was breaking away from that kind of conditioning, so yes it’s God and it’s big and it sounds kind of corny when you say that God’s the big bad of our final season, but at the same time, thematically and in terms of parallels, it actually ties very strongly to what this show has always been, from literally episode 1.”

But this time around, the father figure has a few more tricks up his sleeve. (No offense to John.) Already, in retaliation for Sam and Dean’s decision to rebel against his plan, Chuck opened up the gates of hell, thereby allowing many of the souls that the Winchesters hunted over the years to roam free, a fact they’ll have to deal with when season 15 begins. “I don’t think they’re feeling great,” Dabb says of Sam and Dean. “It doesn’t invalidate what they’ve done. They still saved a lot of people and that stands, but at the same time, a lot of the ghosts they’ve taken care of who were sent down to hell are back and we’ll see that in the first episode with the return of some old faces.”

Speaking of familiar faces, Dabb adds, “Because it’s our last season, we are not afraid to bring back people who we love or who the guys have some history with, because even if it’s a character from season 3 or 4 or 7 or 8, the Sam and Dean they knew are not the same Sam and Dean as they’re encountering right now. This Sam and Dean have been through a lot more. And God’s playing with them a little bit, he’s toying with them. He’s pulling these old familiar faces out in some ways to see what they do. And it’s fun for him.”

Another way God messed with Sam and Dean? By killing Jack at the end of last season. But seeing as how we saw the Nephilim wake up in the Empty, it’s safe to say his story isn’t done. “Jack’s being pulled into some larger plans,” Dabb says. “Jack’s always been a part of that — there have been cosmic forces fighting for his attention since he was in the womb — and that will continue. As much as this season is about Sam and Dean finding agency, it’s also about Castiel finding agency, and it’s about Jack finding agency. As always, death is never the end. It’s just part of the journey and that’s certainly true with Jack.”

Supernatural returns Thursday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

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