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What happened to Wil Willis on Forged in Fire?

What happened to TV show host Wil Willis on Forged in Fire?


As every fan of reality television knows, it’s easy to become attached to our favorite hosts and presenters.

And this is exactly what happened when we tuned in for season 8 of the History Channel’s Forged in Fire.

For seven seasons of the iconic show, Wil Willis walked fans and bladed weapon enthusiasts through some mind-blowing crafts, epic bladesmithing tutorials, and themes like ‘Revolutionary War Swords’ and ‘Curved Blades.’

With Wil’s charismatic personality, military experience, and intuitive understanding of blade weapons, an impressive judging panel that boasts J. Neilson, David Baker, Ben Abbott, and Doug Marcaida, and contestants who really had to work to secure their $10,000 cash prize—the show was onto something special.

And then we tuned in for season 8, and the host with the most, Wil Willis, was gone.

So what happened to Wil Willis on Forged in Fire?

Fear not. We’ve got all the fascinating facts fans want to know right here.

But first: who is Wil Willis?

What happened to TV show host Wil Willis on Forged in Fire


When Wil Willis hit our screens in the first season of Forged in Fire, there was a lot that viewers wanted to know.

As it unfolded, we learned that the weaponry expert had spent over a decade as an Air Force Pararescueman.

He’d also followed that up with four years as an Army Ranger before he retired from the military.

With all Wil’s knowledge of weapons, though, it wasn’t long before TV show producers came calling.

Willis presented his knowledge as a commentator for several shows, including Special Ops Mission and Weapons That Changed the World.

Wil Willis & Kyla Kenedy

Wil Willis & Kyla Kenedy – @Getty

He Was a Total Fan Favorite – What happened to Wil Willis on Forged in Fire?

So, what happened to Wil Willis on Forged in Fire? Wil Willis might have appeared on the small screen before, but his role as the host of Forged in Fire catapulted him to another level of popularity with fans. Willis served on the show from its 2015 premiere until 2019, and also hosted its spin-off series, Forged in Fire: Beat the Judges, in 2020.

Beat the Judges was a success for season 1, and so fans were all ears when the History Channel announced its return for a second season. But herein lay the problem: none of the promotional materials showed Wil Willis anywhere.

Instead, former judge and two-time Forged in Fire winner Ben Abbott looked to be taking on the mantle of a host of the hit show.

Or was he?

His Departure From The Show Was Sudden


The change was so sudden, in fact, that fans were left distinctly—and vocally—disappointed.

Many followers of Forged in Fire took to Twitter to question the decision, which prompted the show’s executives to come forward with a sort of explanation.

History released a statement to say that “as with any legacy series,” it is normal that fans would notice new names and faces from time to time.

While many were speculating—based on Forged in Fire season 8 promo footage—that Ben Abbott was taking the helm, History had another surprise in store.

Grady Powell joined the show as the new host for seasons 8 and 9.

He Was Growing His Family

At the same time that fans and execs were preparing for Forged in Fire to enter its eighth season, Wil Willis and his wife Krystie Amina, were also preparing for something big: a son!

Flash Orion Willis was born in March of 2020 to his doting parents.

Given that Wil had been open with interviewers and fans about what filming Forged in Fire entailed—and how boring it could actually be—perhaps the military veteran and weapons expert really just wanted to step back and spend time with his growing brood.

In an interview on B3F Podcast, Wil said of his on-set accommodation:

“The majority of my time [on the show] was spent sitting in this hotbed of [expletive].”

He went on to talk about the smell, the cramped space in his trailer, and the amount of time he wasted waiting for other segments to be filmed.

Comparing that to the photos dominating Willis and his wife’s social media accounts—which are jam-packed with pics of their tiny tot and family adventures—is it any wonder he may have wanted to step down?

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He Hasn’t Taken on New TV Roles

During the B3F podcast interview, Willis also talked about the long and “boring” filming schedule.

He did express his admiration for the film crew—who he called “legends” for what they could produce under pressure.

So, is it possible that Willis stepped down from the show for a better gig?

It doesn’t look that way.

Wil Willis hasn’t been announced as a host for any up-and-coming shows.

Aside from his own YouTube channel, which barely sees any new activity, and an Instagram account where Wil showcases the work he’s doing on his Chevy Nova, it looks like Wil is pretty content staying out of the public eye.

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