August 18, 2023

Meet 14-Year-Old Preston Mutanga, Who Worked On “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse”

Preston Mutanga is the 14-year-old animator that created the Lego Spider-Man segment from Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

14-year-old animator

Minnesota native Mutanga created his first video at the age of nine after he was introduced to Blender, a computer graphics 3D software, by his father.

Minnesota native Mutanga would make stop-motion Lego videos on his YouTube page for fun. However, they were that good they caught the attention of Sony Pictures Animation’s team.

The 14-year-old in Milton was asked to animate a scene in the 2018’s Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse sequel, Across The Spider-Verse.  

His shot-by-shot recreation of the original trailer for the sequel, which was stylized so that the characters looked like Lego, drew the attention of Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the filmmaking team at Sony.

“I got the idea to make it in Lego because Lego’s popular, Spider-Man’s popular, and I love both of them. So why not combine the two?” Mutango said in an interview with CBC News.

The scene Sony paid him to design for the sequel, also in the Lego animation style, is a colorful moment partly inspired by the original 2002 Spider-Man movie starring Tobey Maguire.

The high schooler only has three months to work on the scene during his free time after school, which was released in June.

Muntanga saw his creation in a movie theatre at the LA red carpet premiere of Across The Spider-Verse in May, which he attended with his family.

Father-Son Teamwork

Muntanga used help from his father, Theodore, a medical physicist, to reach the three-month finish line, he told AfroTech

Initially, his father had given him a computer to work on the project; however, due to the slow response time from the device, they had to build their computer within one night.

“Me and my dad had been researching computer parts for a bit because shortly into the project, we realized that with my existing PC that he got from his work, it wasn’t gonna work cause it wasn’t strong or fast enough,” Mutanga said.

“So, we had to get a new, more powerful one. We had been researching parts to make a custom PC, and it took like the night to build.”

For the future, Mutanga knows he can accomplish anything he sets his mind to, especially with the help of technology.

When speaking about technology, he told AfroTech it helps us advance and tap into the potential we never thought we had.

“It’s capable of a lot. It has so much power, and I just think it’s like a really limitless tool.” 

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.