Upcoming 10-Part Series ‘Rise of the Raven’ to Tell Story of Legendary Hungarian Commander János Hunyadi

Photo Credit: Beta Film GmbH / News Release
Photo Credit: Beta Film GmbH / News Release

The first image for the upcoming epic miniseries Rise of the Raven has been released. Dubbed “one of the most epic European TV productions of all time” and based on a series of novels, the show, about the life of János Hunyadi, is in the advanced editing stage and is being financed by Beta Film GmbH and the National Film Institute of Hungary.

Painting of the Siege of Belgrade
Siege of Belgrade. (Photo Credit: Anton Bogner / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

Rise of the Raven has a multimillion-euro production value. As aforementioned, it tells the story of János Hunyadi, also known as John Hunyadi, a Hungarian military commander and governor who lived between 1406-56. It stars Gellért L. Kadar as the famed leader and Vivien Rujder as Elizabeth, his life partner, with Robert Dornhelm, Attila Szasz and Orsi Nagypal directing.

Others slated to appear in the 10-episode series include Giancarlo Giannini, Cornelius Obonya, Laurence Rupp, Karl Roden, Rade Serbedzija, Elena Rusconi, Murathan Muslu, Francesco Acquaroli and Thomas Trabacchi.

Portrait of János Hunyadi
János Hunyadi. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

Born into a noble family, Hunyadi’s early life was “plagued by scandal, political power plays and conspiracies between noble families from Italy, Poland, Austria, Serbia, and Hungary.” He became knowledgeable and skilled in warfare at a young age, becoming one of the best soldiers in southern Hungary. This proved crucial during early skirmishes with the Ottomans, who found it difficult to succeed against Hunyadi’s small force of troops.

Hunyadi’s battlefield prowess led to him being named the military governor of Severin, which continuously suffered attacks by the Ottoman Empire. Before long, he was promoted to the governor of Transylvania and given control of all defensive measures along Hungary’s southern borders. By 1443-44, the commander was involved in the Long Campaign and had grown his military force exponentially.

Among the victories Hunyadi secured during this time were the Battle of Kunovica and the capture of Sofia, Kruševac and Niš. He suffered a defeat at the Battle of Varna, narrowly escaping the enemy forces, and went to serve as a governor of Hungary, doing all he could to restore political, military, social and economic order to the country.

It was his victory during the Siege of Belgrade in 1455-56 that earned him a permanent place in history as the “Man Who Saved Europe.” A new offensive was launched by the Ottomans on the city, which Huyandi opted to take on with a band of mercenaries and untrained peasants who fought with everything they had to push back the assault.

They were successful, but the victory cost the commander his life. He’d caught an illness that had spread through the army during the battle and died a few days later. In honor of Huyandi’s victory, Pope Callixtus III ordered that every European church ring its bells at noon each day, a custom that still exists in some congregations.

Artist's rendition of the Battle of Varna
Battle of Varna. (Photo Credit: József Marastoni / Henrik Weber / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

Speaking in a news release, Koby Gal-Raday, Beta Film’s Chief Content Officer said, “Rise of the Raven delivers on its promises – a highly entertaining, emotional, and powerful historical saga of exceptional production value. With a strong and unique emphasis on female perspectives, the series offers captivating storylines that are highly relevant to today’s audience. Supported by a stellar creative team and an excellent international cast, we firmly believe in its significant global potential.”

Producer Robert Lantos added in a statement, “T S Eliot once wrote that between the dream and the reality there lies the shadow. Throughout my entire career I have been battling this shadow. Finally, with Rise of the Raven, the shadow has been vanquished. This time, the dream is the reality.”

Statue of János Hunyadi
Statue of Jánis Hunyadi in Heroes’ Square, in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo Credit: Karelj / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

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There’s currently no release date set for Rise of the Raven.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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