A five-year-old boy play-fighting Darth Vader during his Star Wars-themed birthday party got a welcome surprise when his opponent took off his mask to reveal himself as his father – a US Navy reservist not expected home until Christmas.
Justin Whyte, 33, secretly returned from training in California to his family's home in Kansas in time for his son Aiden's birthday in May.
"My son was turning five and my husband was not supposed to be home," Susie Whyte, 31, told ABCNews.com.
"My kids were told over and over we won't see him until Christmas.
"We snuck my husband home from the airport. My son asked about doing the Darth Vader bit, and he thought it was his older cousin, who is 13 and very tall."
Aiden dressed as Luke Skywalker and his six-year-old sister Emily dressed as Princess Leia.
Neither had seen their father for two-and-a-half months and had no idea it was Mr Whyte in the Darth Vader costume fighting him with a lightsaber until he pulled his mask off, the mother said.
The happy surprise poses a sharp contrast to the "real" Luke Skywalker's wretched shock when he discovers, in Star War Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, that Darth Vader is his father.
"No, I am your father," is one of the most well-known quotes in modern American cinema.
Footage of the reunion has had more than 250,000 views since it was posted on November 5 to WelcomeHomeBlogs.com, a site devoted to videos of military homecoming reunions.
Sources: ABC News, WelcomeHomeBlogs.com
Author: Erin Tennant, Approving Editor: Fiona Willan