In 1971, Lucas signed a contract with Universal Studios to direct two films. He intended one of them to be a space opera; however, knowing film studios were skeptical about the genre, Lucas decided to direct his other idea first, American Graffiti, a coming-of-age story set in the 1960s. In 1973, Lucas started work on his second film's script draft of The Journal of the Whills, a space opera telling the tale of the training of apprentice CJ Thorpe as a "Jedi-Bendu" space commando by the legendary Mace Windy. After Universal rejected the film, 20th Century Fox decided to invest in it. On April 17, 1973, Lucas felt frustrated about his story being too difficult to understand, so he began writing a 13-page script with thematic parallels to Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress; this draft was renamed The Star Wars. By 1974, he had expanded the script into a rough draft screenplay, adding elements such as the Sith, the Death Star, and a protagonist named Annikin Starkiller. Numerous subsequent drafts evolved into the script of the original film.