Did You Know a 14-Year-Old Animated This Scene of ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’?
For most animators, working on a film the scale of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse would be a dream come true, but imagine achieving that milestone at the tender age of 14. That’s what Preston Mutanga did when he was invited to animate a full scene for the hit new film. Since its premiere on June 1, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has been praised and hailed as one of the biggest and best movies of 2023. It’s almost certain to nab an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, and some are even vouching for it for the Best Picture nomination, even though only three animated films have been nominated for the award in the Oscars’ 95-year history.
While Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse should be considered for award categories across the board, it can’t be denied that one of its most ground-breaking features is its animation. The film features six distinct animation styles and took the work of around 1,000 artists and animators to put together over the course of several years. This resulted in a mesmerizing style reminiscent of graphic novels, with countless unique Spider-Man variants and a few vibrantly animated alternate dimensions. Meanwhile, Mutanga was the animator responsible for animating one of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse‘s most memorable alternate worlds.
The animated LEGO world in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
During Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, viewers find that Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac) has created a Spider Society, including Spider-Man variants from countless worlds, who are tasked with keeping the multiverse in order. One of O’Hara’s most valued Spider-Man allies is none other than LEGO Spider-Man (Nic Novicki). Viewers get to see what a strong asset LEGO Spider-Man is with a diversion to his world, Earth-13122. The scene shows a full LEGO universe complete with a LEGO Daily Bugle and an angry J. Jonah Jameson (J. K. Simmons) ripping on Parker. However, Parker steals away to the bathroom to change into his Spider-Man costume and warn O’Hara of an anomaly.
This was quite a brilliant scene because it is a crossover between The LEGO Movie franchise and the Spider-Verse franchise, which share the same creators, Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Meanwhile, the full stop-motion LEGO scene was animated by Mutanga. Mutanga has been animating LEGOs for fun for some time on his YouTube channel, LegoMe_TheOG, where he has over 118 videos of his creations. He caught Lord’s and Miller’s attention when he recreated the entire second Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse trailer, but with LEGOs. The recreation has over 19.6 million views on Twitter, and Lord and Miller were blown away by how “sophisticated” the animation was. They were so impressed that they entrusted him with animating the LEGO scene, and it was animated so well, it fits right into Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and its celebration of all animation styles.
According to the New York Times, Mutanga worked on the scene during spring break and even balanced his work with his academics during the school year. He later took to Twitter to confirm his role in the film and gave a shoutout to Miller and Lord for working with him on the scene. His hard work is paying off, as he also recently broke 100k subscribers on his YouTube channel.
Lord and Miller better have Mutanga on speed dial in case they ever decide to make a full-length LEGO Spider-Man film. With the appeal of LEGO movies and TV shows still growing, Mutanga has a bright future in front of him, and we can’t wait to see where his animated LEGO creations will pop up next.
(featured image: Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]