Next week's episodes of the BBC soap see Michael grow closer to Vanessa following the breakdown of her relationship with Max Branning. He then spots an opportunity to cause trouble, promising her a wad of cash if she agrees to break his dad Eddie's heart.
"Michael sees a weakness in Vanessa after the Brannings disown her," Shepherd told Inside Soap. "She has no money, no job and no security. He thinks, 'That's absolutely perfect - she can be my puppet'."
He continued: "Michael has seen a flicker of romance between Eddie and Carol, and he wants to entirely extinguish that. So he's hoping that he can thrust Vanessa in Eddie's path to distract him from Carol."
Meanwhile, Zöe Lucker - who plays Vanessa - admitted that her alter ego is led down the wrong path by Michael when he starts discussing Eddie's past.
"He tells her Eddie killed his mum, and Vanessa's stunned. She thought Eddie was nice," Lucker said.
"Vanessa isn't a callous woman, but she's in a vulnerable position. At the end of the day, she's a survivor and will do whatever it takes in order to get by."
EastEnders' new plot for Michael, Vanessa and Eddie begins next Tuesday.
> Zöe Lucker: 'More to come from Vanessa'
> EastEnders' Vanessa tipped for "exciting" plot
> EastEnders' Vanessa to become embroiled in Moon revenge plot
> EastEnders' Vanessa goes into meltdown: In Pictures
> EastEnders Zöe Lucker promises "fantastic" Vanessa scenes
Watch some of Michael's EastEnders best bits in the video below: