This Teenager Re-Created The "Across The Spider-Verse" Trailer With Legos, And Then He Was Hired To Work On The Movie

    Preston Mutanga, who is only 14 years old, worked on his Lego section of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse during his school's spring break and at night (after he finished his homework).

    It's no secret that Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is one of the best movies of 2023. It's already had one of the biggest box office debuts of the year, and it's currently the highest rated movie of all time on Letterboxd.

    Spider-Man swinging through the city with his arm reaching out towards the camera

    A sequel to Into the Spider-Verse, this movie follows Miles Morales/Spider-Man (Shameik Moore) as he enters a wild adventure through the multiverse where he encounters a team of Spider-People, including Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), who are charged with protecting its very existence.

    Miles and Gwen sitting upside down on a building as they chat

    Like the first movie, Across the Spider-Verse does an impeccable job of telling this story of Miles, diving deeper into the multiverse, and utilizing various animation styles incredibly well.

    Miles battling villain the Spot

    While Into the Spider-Verse had some amazing moments when it came to animation, Across the Spider-Verse seems to dial it up to 11. By utilizing various Earths, the movie is able to use so many different animation styles, and it's honestly so impressive.

    Spider-Woman races along on her motorcycle as Miguel O'Hara runs alongside her

    In fact, the Across the Spider-Verse team wanted the movie to feel like you were jumping from one comic book to another. So, in order to achieve an authentic feeling of different animation styles, various artists were brought in who had worked on other Spider-Man comics, other animated films, and more.

    Several members inside the Spider Society HQ

    The various animation styles make it so when Miles and Gwen arrive at the Spider Society, you can really feel how it's a celebration of ALL the Spider-Man stories and everything coming together.

    While I could sit and talk about the Across the Spider-Verse animation for literal hours, there's one amazing behind-the-scenes fact about a particular moment that I can't stop thinking about.

    At one point in the movie, we see an Earth where everything is made out of Legos, and it's there where we meet Lego Spider-Man (Nic Novicki).

    It's a sequence that earned a lot of laughs in my theater when I saw it — it was just executed so perfectly and was a great nod to The Lego Movie.

    Well, it turns out the Lego section of Across the Spider-Verse was actually animated by 14-year-old Preston Mutanga, who was hired by Sony to work on this specific sequence.

    Miles Morales as Spider-Man crouching on a high-rise structure

    Preston caught the attention of writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller after he re-created the first Across the Spider-Verse trailer shot-by-shot using 3D animation and Legos.

    The trailer, which Preston shared to Twitter and his YouTube page in early 2023, went viral, with over 700k views on the video on Twitter alone.

    View this video on YouTube

    LegoMe_TheOG / YouTube / Via youtu.be

    "It blew us all away, including some of the best animators in the world," Christopher recalled in a recent interview with the New York Times.

    The lego version of Miles and Gwen sitting upside down on a building as they chat in the top picture and the animated version in the bottom picture

    Like, it's literally a perfect re-creation.

    Lego Gwen Stacey looking down as she stands inside a hexagonal portal on top vs the animated version on the bottom

    One more side-by-side because I'm simply so impressed:

    At the time, Phil and Across the Spider-Verse director Kemp Powers even commented on the video, with Phil saying, "Well done!!! Where were you in 2014 [when The Lego Movie was released] oh wait you were 6."

    I was closely observing the movie ;)

    — LegoMe_TheOG (@FG_Artist) January 3, 2023
    @FG_Artist / Phil Lord / Twitter / Via Twitter: @FG_Artist
    Phil and Christopher wrote and directed The Lego Movie.

    Fans of Spider-Man and the Spider-Verse were so impressed as well, even asking Preston when he'd start working for Sony:

    Ha ha , Thanks, I'm still in school but hopefully soon. :-)

    — LegoMe_TheOG (@FG_Artist) January 23, 2023
    @FG_Artist / Twitter / Via Twitter: @FG_Artist

    So, when Phil, Christopher, and the rest of the Across the Spider-Verse team decided to include a Lego universe as part of the movie's exploration of the multiverse, producer Christina Steinberg reached out to Preston and asked if he wanted to animate it.

    Spider-Man falling through the hexagonal portal into another universe

    After being contacted by Sony (and verifying that it was, in fact, a real job offer), Preston's dad built him a new computer and bought him a state-of-the-art graphics card so he could render his work faster.

    So, Preston got to work. He worked on Across the Spider-Verse during his school's spring break and then on school nights (after his homework was done). He would also meet with Christopher, who would check Preston's progress and provide input.

    Lego Spider-Man vs animated Spider-Man looking shocked

    Speaking about how magical it was to work with Preston, Phil told the New York Times, "The Lego Movie is inspired by people making films with Lego bricks at home. That’s what made us want to make the movie. Then the idea in Spider-Verse is that a hero can come from anywhere."

    He continued, saying, "And here comes this heroic young person who’s inspired by the movie that was inspired by people like him."

    You can follow Preston on Twitter here and check out his YouTube channel for even more amazing videos — like when he re-created the Stranger Things "Running Up That Hill" scene.

    And you can read Preston's entire profile with the New York Times here.