A 14-year-old from Toronto helped animate the Spider-Verse!

Preston Mutanga turned a homemade LEGO version of the trailer for the latest Spider-Man movie into the chance to actually work on the film itself
A screenshot from Preston Mutanga's impressive LEGO version of the first trailer for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. (Screenshot/ @LegoMe_TheOG)

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is not only already one of the biggest movies of 2023, its animation style (or should we say styles) is groundbreaking. If you've seen the film, then you know what we mean.

And if you haven't yet, have a look at this trailer to get a taste.

When that trailer came out about half a year ago, it caused a lot of excitement. One of those excited people was a 14-year-old from Toronto named Preston Mutanga. Soon after the trailer dropped, he set himself a challenge.

He was going to recreate the trailer, frame for frame with LEGO and a 3D animation program called Blender. And sure enough, he did it! When it was complete, he posted it, tagging the producers of the film, Phil Lord and Chris Miller. You can watch it below and even go back and compare it to the original trailer above.

Preston gets the call

Pretty stunning, right? We're definitely impressed! And you know who else was impressed?

Spider-Verse producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

They quickly reached out to Preston with a proposal. They were still working on the finishing touches for the film and they had a short sequence in mind that would take place in the LEGO-verse.

Would Preston like to animate that sequence for them?

In an interview with The New York Times, Miller said that Preston's version of the trailer "blew us all away, including some of the best animators in the world." They were convinced that Preston could do the job. Was he in?

Preston does it

Preston's answer was, of course, Yes!

He got straight to work. In a conversation with Toronto Life, Mutanga talked about how long it all took.

"I worked on it for three months, starting in February 2023," he said. "Mostly in the evenings and on weekends and during March break. I had Zoom calls almost every two days with the team to send over what I’d done so far and get feedback. I had maybe 15 drafts by the end."

Using Blender (a program he learned about from his father, who is a physicist and uses it for 3D modelling) and CGI (there are no actual pieces of LEGO used in the trailer), he built the scene from scratch. And though he had the team from the actual movie to lean on for advice, much of his skill came from watching tutorials on YouTube.

So cool!

Preston gets the praise!

Finally, at the start of June, the film was released to the public. With Preston's LEGO-verse scene and all!

He was flown to Los Angeles to attend the premiere of the movie. As he told Toronto Life, "The best part (of the premiere) was seeing the theatre’s reaction to my scene. It was heartwarming to know that people liked my work."

Today, Preston is trying to stay grounded as an everyday high school student (even though his friends keep reminding him that he animated "that part in Spider-Verse"). But he definitely has big dreams of moving forward as an animator, either attending school at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario (a school with many graduates at studios, like Pixar) or even going to California.

He is also thinking of making an original film of his own. We're so excited to see it when it happens.

In the meantime, check out the LEGO animation he did of the second Spider-Verse trailer (because of course he did!). Way to go, Preston!

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