BEVERLY HILLS

Vince Gilligan, an executive producer of "Better Call Saul," openly admits that he feels the burden of great expectations. That just comes with the territory when you're trying to create a worthy prequel to "Breaking Bad," one of the most acclaimed shows in television history.

"It's challenging -- like trying to solve a Rubik's cube. But it's also fun," he said of the AMC series pegged to Saul Goodman, the slimy lawyer played by Bob Odenkirk. " ... We're still feeling our way through this."

That pressure to be extraordinary is a key reason why the show, originally scheduled to debut in November, has been delayed until early next year.

Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman in ’Breaking Bad.’
Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman in 'Breaking Bad.' (Ben Leuner/AMC)

"I'm slow as mud as a TV writer," Gilligan told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour. " ... Thankfully, AMC has been very understanding."

Meanwhile, Gilligan and executive-producing partner Peter Gould revealed a few more details about the prequel, which is set in 2002, six years before Saul met drug dealer Walter White (Bryan Cranston). When the saga opens, Saul is known as Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer hustling to make ends meet.

Working alongside, and often against Jimmy, is "fixer" Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), a character very familiar to "Breaking Bad" fans. The series will track Jimmy's transformation into Saul Goodman.

"I thought it was going to be kind of easy going in (but) we didn't know who this guy is at all," Gilligan said. "He was a very interesting supporting character."

Michael McKean ("This is Spinal Tap") has signed on to play Chuck, the brother of Saul. Other regulars include Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian and Michael Mando, but the producers declined to reveal any details about their characters.

It's possible that other characters from the "Breaking Bad" world, including Walter White and Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), could resurface in the show, but fans shouldn't expect a series of weekly reunions.

"We're trying to make something that stands on its own," Gould explained. "It's not the series equivalent of a clip show."

But when it comes to the narrative structure, anything is possible. Like "Breaking Bad," the prequel won't always move straight ahead.

"We like nonlinear storytelling and jumping around in time," Gilligan said.

"Better Call Saul," which is being shot in Albuquerque, N.M, will debut with a 10-episode first season, and AMC has already ordered a second season of 13 episodes.

Contact Chuck Barney at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.ChuckBarney, or Twitter.com/chuckbarney