So my significant other (okay my boyfriend whom I live with), plays a lot of video games. Lately he's played a lot of Starcraft II. Although he's not a huge fan of the storyline part of the game, he is active in forums and watches lots of fan videos. He enjoys playing the game and learning more about it immensely. I'd call him a Starcraft fan, though he interacts differently with it than say I do with X-Men or fans of Supernatural do with their show.
However, in RL (real life), he's also a screenwriter. And he's been contacted to write a script for a StarCraft movie. (As an honest disclosure, it's a direct-to-DVD, animated cartoon movie that may or may not ever get made) .
He's been working on researching StarCraft storyline, learning more and more about the universe and the lore and the characters in it. He's also written up some treatments on scripts and talked about ways the story might unfold.
In some ways, what he's writing is fanfic. He's not one of the original creators working for Blizzard game studios and so he's trying to fit his story's vision into the established world of Starcraft. He's careful to get his facts right, stay true to main character characterization, write something that fits in with the universe and pacing of the game story (while being a short action cartoon).
But at the same point, as I keep reminding him, he's no longer a fan and the script he's writing isn't fanfic -- it's canon. He's one of "the powers that be" -- the creators.
If he writes this movie and it gets made, he acquires of the most coveted positions in the fan world, a creator of canon who isn't one of the original creators but works on the canon afterward. Not only is this opportunity immensely cool for him professionally, but also personally. He's like an author of those tie-in novels about a TV show. They're never done by the original show writers, but they're not fanfiction.
But it made me wonder, technically, can you continue to call yourself a fan if you're now one of the creators? Do you cease to be a fan if you become an official, licensed creator? Are fanfic writers, especially popular ones who inspire universes of their own, creators but without official license?