I don't consider "the Time Traveler" to be the star of Wells' TIME MACHINE, and from one standpoint I might teem "time itself" to be the star. However, the bulk of the narrative does center itself upon the Eloi/Morlocks period of future-history, and so it's possible to see that one period as the focal presence of the Wells narrative.
Primarily I did a quick re-read of the Wells novel to compare story-points to those of the 1960 film adaptation. I won't attempt a full review as such, but it's interesting that Wells' hero shows no interest in traveling to the past, like his rough progenitor in Twain's CONNECTICUT YANKEE, but only to two future periods: that of the Eloi and Morlocks, and that of the Earth's final death-spasms. Both visits are designed to undermine the narrator's naive belief in progress and human perfectibility, but the doleful end of the world functions almost as a coda to Wells' message of utter degeneration, rather than as a source of conflict in itself. The novel's main conflict revolves entirely around the seeming inversion of Marx's "rise of the proletariat," wherein the old ruling class simply degenerates into bland imbecility and the working-class becomes content to rule from the underworld, turning their fellow humans into breeding-stock. In contrast to the protagonist of the 1960 film, once the Traveler comes to a full realization of humankind's ultimate fate, he takes no action to change the dominant power-structure despite his aversion to the Morlocks. Perhaps Wells felt that the Eloi deserved their fate due to their ancestors' abuse of power. Certainly the narrator shares Wells' general disinterest in violent conflict, which would crop as a outright philosophical stance in 1933's THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME:
What has happened during the past three and a half centuries to the human consciousness has been a sublimation of individuality. That phase is the quintessence of modern history. A large part of the commonplace life of man, the food-hunt, the shelter-hunt, the safety-hunt, has been lifted out of the individual sphere and socialized for ever. To that the human egotism has given its assent perforce. It has abandoned gambling and profit-seeking and all the wilder claims of property. It has ceased altogether to snatch, scramble and oust for material ends. And the common man has also been deprived of any weapons for his ready combativeness and of any liberty in its release. Nowadays even children do not fight each other. Gentleness in difference has become our second nature.
It would seem that by 1933 Wells actually came to feel that there was something to be said for all of humanity evolving into Eloi, as long as there were no recrudescent savages.
I should also note in passing that I recently discovered a passage in a 1935 H.P. Lovecraft essay, "Some Notes on Interplanetary Fiction," which supports all of my previous attempts to suss out "focal presences" in fiction that are not human beings per se:
Inconceivable events and conditions form a class apart from all other story elements, and cannot be made convincing by any mere process of casual narration. They have the handicap of incredibility to overcome; and this can be accomplished only through a careful realism in every other phase of the story, plus a gradual atmospheric or emotional build-up of the utmost subtlety. The emphasis, too, must be kept right—hovering always over the wonder of the central abnormality itself. It must be remembered that any violation of what we know as natural law is in itself a far more tremendous thing than any other event or feeling which could possibly affect a human being. Therefore in a story dealing with such a thing we cannot expect to create any sense of life or illusion of reality if we treat the wonder casually and have the characters moving about under ordinary motivations. The characters, though they must be natural, should be subordinated to the central marvel around which they are grouped. The true "hero" of a marvel tale is not any human being, but simply a set of phenomena.