By Anthony Breznican
January 13, 2012 at 05:46 PM EST
Zade Rosenthal

While The Avengers is clearly a group effort uniting some of Marvel’s most iconic superheroes, one crusader in particular will serve as the perspective for the movie, according to writer-director Joss Whedon.

Longtime fans of the comic series will probably be pleased to hear which character he thinks provides the grounding focus.

In the comic books, Cap was regarded as the leader of The Avengers, and the movie will keep that team captain (no pun intended) element in place. Whedon explains his own rationale on the next page.

When last we saw him in the coda to Captain America: The First Avenger, Chris Evans’ World War II warrior was waking up in modern times after spending several decades as the world’s most patriotic popsicle.

After recovering him from the arctic and reviving him, the law enforcement agency S.H.I.E.L.D. hoped to ease Steve Rogers back into the world. Of course, when he suspects something strange and escapes from his seemingly 1940s-era hospital room, he is stunned to find himself in present day Times Square.

What followed was our first look at the team coming together for The Avengers movie, and Whedon says attaching this reveal to the Captain America film was no coincidence. “So much of [The Avengers] story takes place from Steve Rogers’ perspective, since he’s the guy who just woke up and sees this weird-ass world,” Whedon says. “Everyone else has been living in it. He’s the guy that feels that sense of loss.”

“[The Avengers] is very much about people who are alone — because I’m writing it,” jokes Whedon, who has assembled groups of outcasts before in TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly — but also, remember, in his script for the original Toy Story. “[Captain America] is kind of the ultimate loner in that way. There is an anachronism to him, and Chris and I have always tried to, without making it goofy or too obvious, make him that same grounded ’40s Steve Rogers he was in the other movie.”

All that means is Captain America is the lens through which much of the story is seen. It doesn’t mean he’s the main character. The heroes in the film — Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, and Samuel L. Jackson’s spymaster Nick Fury — carry about equal share of the movie. “You get them in a world, the world of S.H.I.E.L.D., where they fit in. And you say upfront, these are monsters. These are freaks. These are not you and me, and what are they doing here? How are they human beings?” Whedon says. “Let’s just investigate that.”

The investigation gets underway May. 4.

For more Avengers movie news, follow EW’s Anthony Breznican on Twitter: @Breznican

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