What Happened to Wil Willis and Why Did He Leave Forged in Fire?

Popular television host Wil Willis left Forged in Fire because he wanted to spend as much time as he could with his family, which includes his wife Krystle Amina and three children.

In fact, the primary reason Wil Willis gave up his responsibilities as the host of Forged in Fire, the critically acclaimed History Channel reality TV show, was tied to the birth of his son, Flash Orion Willis, on March 6, 2020. Willis never officially disclosed his desire to leave the show, but besides the addition to his family, the former military man may have hinted at other reasons for his departure from the show. Here’s what we know of the situation.

What Happened To Wil Willis On Forged in Fire?

Wil Willis was the host of Forged in Fire from 2015 to 2019. The show is centered around bladesmiths and their attempts to recreate historical weapons. Their attempts are evaluated by four judges, and the winner is sent home with a cash prize of around $100,000.

Beyond hosting the popular show, Wil was also saddled with the responsibility of giving the competitors directions and the required specifications for the weapons they were to make. He also provided valuable advice from the wealth of experience he gathered during his time in the military.

Born on Valentine’s Day in 1975 in Portugal, Wil Willis’ military background meant that he was essentially the perfect host for the show that drew quite the audience. One of five children born to his parents, the  TV host, who is 49 years old, joined the military fresh out of high school in 1993. Several reliable sources confirm that he served as a ranger in the 11B2V-Ranger Battalion for four years.

Afterward, he continued his military career in the US Air Force, which he joined in 1998, and rose to the rank of Air Force Pararescue Recovery Specialist until he moved on in 2007. He spent another year in Air Force reserve duty before ending his military career in 2008.

Willis spent three years, from 2007 to 2010, working as a trainer of military science and technology at Assessment and Training Solutions before working at Broken Lizard Productions, where he hosted several military-themed documentaries, including Triggers: Weapons That Changed the World (2011) and Special Ops Mission (2009).

When the History Channel premiered Forged in Fire in 2015, they did not look any further than Wil Willis to become the show’s first host, and during the seven seasons he spent as the host of the show, the talented Willis became a face that audiences came to know, love, and associate with the show. Prior to his rather unexpected departure, he had begun hosting the spinoff series Forged in Fire: Beat the Judges and seemed to be there for the long haul.

When Was Wil Willis Replaced On Forged in Fire?

Wil Willis was replaced on Forged in Fire in November 2020. The rather unexpected development began as a rumor following a tweet from a viewer who tweeted that he had just seen the promo for the show’s upcoming season, which indicated that there was a new host. The viewer went on to ask what happened to Wil Willis.

At first, the tweet did not gather much traction, but the reality of the situation became unavoidable when the show resumed for the 2021 season without its long-term host Wil Willis. In his place was former National Geographic star of Ultimate Survival Alaska Grady Powell, who, despite his equally impressive military background as a retired U.S. Army Green Beret and Senior Detachment Weapons Sergeant with tours in Iraq and North Africa, knew he had his work cut out for him to replace Willis.

To ease the effect of the transition, the History Channel put out a statement that said that the decision to replace Wil was borne out of the desire to usher in a new era in the show’s existence. The statement also appreciated Willis’ impact on the series but reiterated the excitement of the showrunners to start a new chapter with Powell.

The well-intentioned statement did very little to calm the nerves of the show’s dedicated audience, who expressed their disappointment with the change, with some even suggesting that the show would not be the same without Wil Willis and others pleading for him not to leave.

While some believed that the History Channel got rid of Willis, the prevalent question was why did Wil Willis leave Forged in Fire?

Why Did Wil Willis Leave Forged in Fire?

Wil Willis, the former host of Forged in Fire, never officially specified the reason for his decision to quit the show when his stock on the show was at its peak. Several theories have been put forward, but only a few have any likelihood of credibility attached to them, not the least of which has to do with the addition to the reality TV host’s family.

In 2017, Willis exchanged marital vows with realtor Krystle Amina, and on March 6, 2020, the couple welcomed their first child together, a son named Flash Orion Willis. The host announced the birth of his son on his Instagram page, disclosing the fact that the doctors had to go in for his son but that he was elated that mother and child were doing fine.

Several reports indicate that while the show was preparing for the 8th season, Wil was spending time with his family and subsequently decided to take a break. Another possible reason for Wil Willis’ departure from Forged in Fire is centered around the fact that he had become bored with the filming process, which was quite demanding.

He revealed his feelings on the subject during a December 2020 episode of the B3f podcast. Despite expressing how much he appreciated the show, his comments hinted at the fact that he wanted a change of scenery.

Will Wil Willis Return To Forged in Fire?

It’s highly unlikely that Wil Willis will return as the host of Forged in Fire. Season 9 of the series premiered on March 30, 2022, and aired its last episode on November 2, 2022, all with Grady Powell as host.

The show has yet to be renewed for a 10th season, and while fans of the show retain a sliver of hope that their favorite host would return, History Channel has yet to issue a statement to that effect.

What Is Wil Willis Doing Now?

Wil Willis is focused on being a husband to his wife Krystle and a father to his three children, two of whom are from a previous marriage. He is currently not engaged in any new project but is reportedly quite interested in pursuing a career as an independent filmmaker.


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